Kathmandu, December 4:

Nepali taekwondo ace Deepak Bista was honoured here on Tuesday for his remarkable achievement at the WTF Asian Qualifying Tournament held in Vietnam.

Bista became only the second player to qualify for the Olympics when he finished third in Vietnam, which earned him a berth for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The only other Nepali player to achieve that feat was Sangina Baidya, also a taekwondo player. Baidya is the first Nepali to qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

National Sports Council (NSC) awarded Bista with a cheque of Rs 100,000 as a recognition for his achievement. Nepal’s sports governing body also handed over a silver medal wishing him a success in the Beijing Olympics.

State Minister for Education and Sports Mohan Singh Rathaur also announced that Bista would be granted a permanent officer-level job (coach) at the NSC by mid April, 2008. This is the fourth time Bista — who is currently employed at the NSC as a coach on a contract basis — has received the assurance of permanent job. He was, however, never made permanent.

Three-time South Asian Games gold medallist, Bista got the assurance first from the-then Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai when he won gold medal at the eighth SA Games in 1999.

The government also announced permanent job to the 10th South Asian Games gold medallist including Bista but the proclamation never came in effect. It was in the 10th SA Games when Bista won his third consecutive gold medal. Bista also got the same assurance for the third time when he claimed his second consecutive bronze medal at the Asian Games in Doha in 2006.

Also, the NSC has decided to provide a vehicle to Bista during his stay in Nepal. Bista is set to leave for South Korea to undergo second phase training to prepare for the Olympics. Nepal’s South Korean coach Kwon Hyouk Joung, senior coach Deep Raj Gurung and coach Nabin Gurung were also felicitated on the occasion.

NSC member secretary Jeevan Ram Shrestha, Nepal Taekwondo Association president Rukma Shumsher Rana and Sports Secretary Shankar Pandey among others were present during the function.