11th SA Games medallists go public

KATHMANDU: The National Sports Council (NSC) today organised a public felicitation rally for the 11th South Asian Games medallists and senior national cricket team.

The medallists in 12 different sports disciplines and the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division-V winning cricket team members participated in the round-the-city felicitation rally that started from the NSC premises in Tripureshwor and went through New Road, Basantapur, Ason, Ranipokhari, Bagbazaar, Putalisadak, Anamnagar, Maitighar, Thapathali, Kopundole and returned back to Tripureshwor.

One of the top tier football clubs, NIB Friends Club and school students gave a warm welcome to the players when the rally reached Kopundole. The eight gold medallists — Deepak Bista, Ayesha Shakya, Binod Shakya, Rajendra Bhandari, Ganga Adhikari, Ang Babu Lama and Binita Maharjan — were the leaders of the rally who were kept in a chariot. The four-time SA Games gold medallist Deepak Bista said he was happy to get the felicitation.

“I am happy for the honour, though it came late. The government should now provide the players with lifetime allowance and provide them with shelter. It’s not only about giving me, it’s about other players as well who have spent their lives playing for the country,” said the Beijing Olympian who became the first South Asian player to win four consecutive regional meet gold medals.

Another taekwondo gold medallist Ayesha Shakya said she was surprised with the turn out. “The days were ordinary when we returned back from the Dhaka Games, but it was a great day for us today as the ceremony was huge than I had expected,” said Shakya. Nepal won eight gold, nine silver and 20 bronze medals at the Dhaka Games held from January 29 to February 9.

Meanwhile, national cricket team skipper Paras Khadka appreciated the initiative from the sports’ ruling body. “This is really a great initiation from the NSC but felicitation alone won’t be enough for the players. NSC should now look forward to reward the players with cash prizes so that they could get motivation to play better for their country in future,” said Khadka, who led Nepal to the first major international trophy on February 27 when Nepal defeated USA in the final of the Pepsi ICC WCL Division-V Tournament.

The Nepal Army band occupied the front row of the rally followed by the gold medallists in chariot and other medallists in vehicles. The rally also included bands from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force along with Youth and Sports Minister Ganesh Nepali, NSC officials and national sports associations’ representatives.

Bista, Maharjan feted

KATHMANDU: Loonibha Multipurpose Cooperative Limited on Friday felicitated record making taekwondo ace Deepak Bista and Wushu gold medallist Binita Maharjan for their achievements in the 11th South Asian Games. While Bista received Rs 40,000 for his remarkable feat of fourth consecutive gold medal in the regional meet, Maharjan was awarded with Rs 25,000 for winning Nepal’s first gold medal in Dhaka Games. Both the players also received Rs 10,000-worth shares of the company. Chairman Min Krishna Maharjan handed over the cash and shares to the players at a programme organised on the occasion of Loonibha’s eighth Annual General Meeting.