Kathmandu, December 7
Nepali athlete Kiran Singh Bogati won marathon gold medal in the 13th South Asian Games here at Dasharath Stadium today.
Bogati finished the 42.195km race in two hours, 21 minutes and 17 seconds to claim marathon’s first gold in 24 years. No Nepali athlete had won the marathon gold since Tika Bogati in the 1995 Madras SAF Games.
Kiran’s gold is the fifth in marathon for Nepal. Baikuntha Manandhar completed the hat-trick after he won gold medals in the first three editions of the SAF Games, while Tika Bogati bagged one in 1995. Rajendra Bhandari had won the event in 2010 Dhaka SA Games but that was later changed to Road Race because of the organisers’ mistake in measuring the distance. Manandhar holds the SAG record of 2:15.03 set in the third SAF Games in Kolkata in 1987.
Bogati’s gold is Nepal’s third in the ongoing SA Games and seventh overall. Santoshi Shrestha won the 10,000m race becoming the first Nepali woman athlete to win gold medal, while Gopi Chandra Parki bagged 5,000m gold.
Thirty-five-year-old Bogati outpaced Indian athlete Jaspal Singh, who claimed silver in 2:22.07, while Nepal’s Homlal Shrestha came third in 2:24.31.
Bogati said the gold medal was the result of three years of hard work. “I put in a lot of training and was able to win the race. I owe this gold medal to my colleague Gopi Chandra Parki who inspired me with positive words and I am grateful to APF IG Shalendra Khanal for this opportunity,” said Bogati, who had finished third in the eighth National Games last year.
In women’s section, Nepal’s Pushpa Bhandari claimed silver medal after she finished behind Sri Lankan Vijayaratne, who won gold in 2:41:24. Bhandari came second in 2:50:11, while India’s Jyoti Gwate was third in 2:52:44.
Nepal ended the athletics campaign on a high as the hosts claimed three gold, one silver and four bronze medals. Nepali athletes had returned with a lone bronze medal from the previous edition held in Guwahati three years ago. Olympian Rimal claimed bronze in 5,000m race, while Som Bahadur Kumal (800m), Tanka Karki (1,500m) and Deepak Adhikari (10,000m) were the other Nepali athletes who finished third.
A version of this article appears in print on December 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.