Nepali fencers had participated in the 12th South Asian Games in India three years ago and also bagged a medal. But very few people are aware of the fact as Fencing remains a totally new sport to Nepal.
After three years of hard work and a couple of international participation, fencing athletes and officials believe the sport will be able to attract audience with powerful performance in the 13th edition of the regional sporting extravaganza.
Nepal will be fighting for 12 gold medals in fencing, which will be held at the newly-built covered hall in Naya Bazaar, Kirtipur from December 6-10.
With aim of leaving its mark in sports fraternity, the Nepal Fencing Association also sent the players to Thailand for exposure and training.
And the players believed the training in Bangkok and participation in the CU Open Fencing Championship had boosted their morale to do well in the SA Games. Sabre player, Payas Yonjan said the team was preparing well and hoping for the best. “We are having great time in training.
The association arranged foreign training for us and it has also brought two coaches from Serbia,” said Yonjan.
Yonjan said the coaches were focusing on technical aspect apart from scoring points and increasing the confidence level. “We are preparing well and we have firmly set our sight on gold medals,” said Yonjan. “Indian fencers are tough opponents in the region and we have to give our 100 per cent in the match to achieve the goal.”
Nepal APF Club player Anita Karki said the confidence level had gone high after the training and competition in Thailand. “I was afraid in the beginning and had a feeling that I won’t be able to do it.
But when I won to medals in the championship, I started in believing in myself,” said Karki, who bagged silver in team and bronze in individual section of Epee category.
Karki said playing fencing was not an easy job. “People think it’s easy to play fencing but it’s very tough once you enter the field. All depends on your training and practice. I have learnt that nothing is impossible if you keep on training and practicing,” she said.
“If we get similar training, the future of fencers and the sport itself is very bright.”
Assistant coach Janga Giri lauded the players for their hard work in training. “The Bangkok tour was very fruitful and the players have improved a lot after undergoing three-week training there,” said the former three-time champion. “The standard of the players have gone high and the Bangkok tour gave them much-needed exposure as well.”
Giri said they were expecting at least three gold medals from the sport in SA Games.
“We can expect a lot from these fencers. The two coaches from Serbia will polish the techniques of the players before the Games and we are confident that these fencers will be able to beat Indian opponents on their way to winning gold medals for the country,” he added.
Nepal is taking part in all six events — individual and team in Epee, Foil and Sabre — in the SA Games. Kamala Shrestha, Rabina Thapa, Sikshya Napit and Asmita Basnet will participate in the women’s Sabre section, while Payas Yonzan, Amit Bhandari, Dinesh Pandey and Rajendra Gajurel are in men’s section.