An eight-member Nepali judo team on Thursday left for Kyrgyzstan to participate in the Asia Oceana Judo Championship slated for April 4-10 in Bishkek.

The 13th South Asian Games gold medallists Punam Shrestha and Devika Khadka will take part in the championship along with Indra Bahadur Shrestha and Soniya Bhatta - who are currently preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games under the Olympic Scholarship programme.

Punam Shrestha will take part in women's below-57kg weight category, while Khadka will compete in below-70kg section and Bhatta is scheduled to participate in below-48kg category.

Likewise, Indra will compete in men's below-66kg weight category.

According to Nepal Judo Association, the event will also serve as Olympic selection event. One of the two players Indra Bahadur Shrestha and Soniya Bhatta - who are training under the IOC Olympic Scholarship will get chance to represent the country in Tokyo Games based on their performance in the championship.

The players will get 20 points for first win, while the points will be doubled for each victory in following rounds, said NJA at a farewell programme. Currently, Bhatta is at 112nd position with 112 points in World Judo Ranking, while Shrestha is at 117th place with 36 points.

NJA President Deepak Harsha Bajracharya has already left for Kyrgyzstan to participate in the executive committee and zone meeting of Judo Union Asia, while General Secretary Dharma Kumar Shrestha, coach Rishi Ram Pradhan and official Suprasiddha Tamrakar accompanied the players to Bishkek.

Shrestha, who is also the qualified referee, will officiate matches in the championship.

National Sports Council Member Secretary Ramesh Kumar Silwal and Nepal Olympic Committee President Jeevan Ram Shrestha bade farewell the team in separate programme today.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 2, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.