Army players honoured

Kathmandu, September 4 :

Nepali Army today rewarded its players, who won medals at the recently held 10th South Asian Games (SAG) in Sri Lanka, amidst a felicitation programme at Tribhuvan Army Officers’ Club today.

Acting Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Rukmangat Katuwal presented the insignia and felicitation letters to nine players, who won 10 medals — three gold, one silver and six bronze medals — in Colombo and an athlete, who won bronze medal in the eighth South Asian Federation (SAF) Games held in Kathmandu in 1999.

Athlete Rajendra Bhandari — who became the first Nepali player to clinch double gold medals in a meet by winning the 5,000m with a SAG record time and 3,000m steeplechase with national record — was promoted to Warrant Officer first class (WO1), while Kamal Bahadur Adhikari, who won historic gold medal in Weight Lifting, became sergeant.

Bhandari, the ninth SAF Games double silver medallist and two-time NSJF Player of the Year award winner, got promoted to Warrant Officer second class (WO2) when he won the 5,000m gold medal at the Asian All Star Athletics Championship in Singapore in 2004. He also broke the 5,000m national record in the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Silver medallist in Marathon Arjun Kumar Basnet and Gyan Bahadur Shrestha, who won bronze medal in 85-kg weight category in Weight Lifting, were promoted to Warrant Officer second class (WO2).

Bronze medallists in boxing Bishnu Rijal and Anil Gurung got promoted to WO2 and Lance/corporal respectively.

Swimmers Kisim Lal Tharu and Om Bahadur Kumal, who won bronze in 4X100m medley relay, were promoted to Warrant Officer second class (WO2) and Sergeant respectively, while footballer Raju Tamang — who won a bronze medal — became Lance/corporal. Gyan Bahadur Bohara, who won silver medal at the eighth SAF Games in Kathmandu in 1999, and participated in Sydney Olympics in 2000, was promoted to WO2.

Congratulating the players for their achievement in the regional tournament, acting COAS Katuwal said that the medals won by the athletes for the country are not of less importance to the Nepali Army. “On behalf of the Nepali Army family, I would like to congratulate the players who made hard efforts to make the country and the Nepali Army proud through sports,” he said. He also thanked all the concerned personalities who helped directly or indirectly to the Nepali Army players for their achievement.

According to Col Binod Bista, chief of the Nepali Army Sports Division, the players will also be rewarded with an opportunity to represent the country in the UN Peace Keeping Mission. Jeewan Ram Shrestha, chef-de-mission of the Nepali contingent in Colombo and member secretary of National Sports Council, NSC vice president Sita Ram Maskey and Nepali Army officers were also present on the occasion.

Nepal finished fifth in the 10th SAG with a record of 55 medals outside the homeland including nine gold, which is also a record abroad, 15 silver and 31 bronze medals.