Gurung calls it quits

SHILLONG: Star wushuka Jharna Gurung announced her retirement after winning silver medal in the 12th South Asian Games here at the Assam Rifle Sports Complex today.

The most successful wushu player of Nepal, however, was shattered to have been restricted to silver medal in her final bout of the glittering career. And that was not because of her inability to perform, that’s because of the injury she sustained in the first round. The wushuka from Pokhara dislocated her left shoulder in the match against WP Malisa Madumalai of Sri Lanka in the below-52kg weight category.

The Asian Championship bronze medallist, Gurung played it safe against Afghanistan’s Zarmina Ibrahim in the semi-finals. After having a rest for a day, Gurung came into the final match with high morale but that was not enough for her to overcome Asian Games medallist Ibrahim. “I am not making any excuses but I lost the match only because I was not physically fit,” said Gurung.

Gurung was floored down for five times, while the Indian player pushed her out from the platform on one occasion. “The injury I suffered in the first match took its toll in the final. I could not perform to my potential,” said the 28-year-old Gurung. “But I am happy to end the career with a silver medal as we are way behind other countries in technical aspect,” she said. “We are also behind in terms of international exposure.”

Gurung, the most successful player in terms of international medals, said she was stepping down with heavy hearts. “I am happy with what I did for the sport. I could win the most number of medals for the country,” said Gurung, who claimed four international medals including today’s silver. She won bronze in first Asian Martial Arts Games in Bangkok in 2009 and added another bronze in the eighth Asian Wushu Championship in Vietnam in 2012. She also won bronze in the 11th SA Games in Bangladesh in 2010.

Gurung said she earned fame from wushu and was more than happy to be known as a player. “Very few people knew me before I came to sports. But today I have become a famous Jharna Gurung,” said the wushuka, who won Popular Player of the Year award in Pulsar Sports Award in 2013. Gurung ended Nepal’s 18-year medal drought in Asian Championship when she won bronze in Vietnam. Gurung said she would not leave the sport after the retirement. “I will not play in national and international tournaments but I will not stay away from the sport,” said Gurung. “We have been lagging behind because of small reasons and I want to pass my experience to the new generation players. I will do whatever I can from my side to help wushu grow,” said Gurung.