Kathmandu, August 4:

Three-time South Asian Games gold medallist and two-time Asian Games bronze medallist Nepali taekwondo ace Deepak Bista will have the honour to carry the national flag during the opening ceremony of the 29th Olympic Games beginning in Beijing this week.

Sita Ram Maskey, Vice President of National Sports Council (NSC) and Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC), will lead the Nepali contingent as the chef-de-mission. “Bista will carry the national flag during the opening ceremony,” confirmed NSC Member Secretary and NOC General Secretary Jeevan Ram Shrestha.

Bista earned the honour as the senior player among the eight athletes representing Nepal in the Games. “Bista deserves the honour as he also has won maximum number of medals for the country,” said Shrestha.

Bista is the only player in the Nepali team who qualified for the Beijing Olympics. Bista fought his way for the Games after winning the bronze medal in the Asian Qualifying Tournament. He is the only second player in Nepal’s history to qualify for Olympics after another taekwondo player Sangina Baidhya (Athens, 2004).

Other players in the team, who received wild card entries are judoka Debu Thapa, shooter Fulmaya Kyapachhaki, lifter Kamal Bahadur Adhikari, athletes Arjun Kumar Basnet and Chandra Kala Thapa, and swimmers Karishma Karki and Prasiddha Jung Rana. Nancy Lama and Rajen Ram Shrestha have been picked in the squad for the Youth Olympic Camp.

The coaches include Kwon Hyouk Joung and Deep Raj Gurung (taekwondo), Puspa Raj Ojha (athletics), Pradeep Khati (shooting), Birendra Ranjit (judo), and Partha Sarathi Sen Gupta (weightlifting). General Secretary of Nepal Swimming Association Ashok Bajracharya has been assigned the job of swimming coach. Dr Saroj Shrestha is in the team as the medical staff.

In all, 36 members are representing Nepal in the August 8-24 Olympics. Education and Sports Minister Pradeep Nepal, players, coaches, chef-de-mission Maskey, NOC President Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan and General Secretary Shrestha left for Beijing today. Other officials will join the team later.

Great honour for me: Bista

KATHMANDU: The captain of the Nepali players in the Beijing Olympics Deepak Bista said he would try his best to make the country proud. “I have been granted a great honour and will try my best not let my nation down,” said Bista. He also said that the whole team was committed to deliver their best at the Olympics. “This team should perform well and bring results for

the country,” said Bista, adding, “There are lots of expectations from us and we will try our best not to return empty-handed.” Meanwhile, Minister for Education and Sports Pradeep Nepal handed over the appointment letter to Bista at the airport. The government had announced to give a permanent job at the National Sports Council after he qualified for the Beijing Olympics. — HNS