Nepali para-taekwondo player Palesha Goverdhan earned wildcard for the Tokyo Paralympic Games to be held later this year in Japan.

Goverdhan will contest in the women's below-58kg weight category of K44 section and the 17-year-old is the first Nepali taekwondo player to earn the Paralympic Games berth. The Nepal Taekwondo Association had applied for wild cards for two players, Goverdhan and Ranjana Dhami after the Nepali players missed the selection tournament due to the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.

"We could not participate in the selection tournament held in Amman last month due to the lockdown imposed by the government and the travel protocol of hosts Jordan that required two weeks of quarantine in third country for Nepali players," said NTA in a release.

"In coordination with National Paralympic Committee, we had requested the World Taekwondo Federation to consider Palesha Goverdhan and Ranjana Dhami for wild cards," the release added. "And the WTF and World Paralympic Committee selected Goverdhan, who is ranked 13th in the world, for wild card as Nepal received a single quota."

Goverdhan, who was born without a palm of her right hand, has the experience of participating in the World Para-taekwondo Championship and Asian Para-taekwondo Championship. She won the historic bronze medal in the fourth Asian Para-taekwondo Open Championship in Vietnam in 2018. She had finished fifth in her first international appearance in third Asian International Para-taekwondo Championship in South Korea in 2017 and claimed the fifth position in the seventh World Para-taekwondo Championship in England the same year.

She also finished fifth in the fifth edition of the Asian Championship in Jordan and eighth World Championship in Turkey in 2019.

After missing the selection tournament, Goverdhan had given hopes of participating in the Paralympic Games this year but she was excited when she heard the news. "I am more than happy to get the chance of representing the country in Olympic Games as it is a dream for every athlete," she said. After earning the berth, Goverdhan asked the association for proper training. "We have been training through zoom and as taekwondo is a contact game we need partner to train," she said. "If I get a proper training, we can target for a medal in the Games," she added.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 17, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.