I want to play more, says Lila

KATHMANDU: Judoka Lila Adhikari, who had fled to South Korea after taking part in the Asian Judo Championship in Joju in April last year, said she wanted to play for the country again.

Lila, the Junior Asian Championship bronze medal winner, returned home last week after dissapearing 14 months in

South Korea. “I had no intention of staying back in South Korea. When we reached Busan on our way back to Kathmandu, a sister of mine, Kirak Shrestha, who works there, provoked me to stay back and fell prey of her,” said Lila, at a press meet.

“I am from a poor family background and she (Kirak) told me that I should earn some thing on that opportunity,” she said. “Once she said so, I came in two minds and later on took a taxi and went to her place,” she said. “I could not find any work for the first two months and later on I worked in a knitting company for eight months,” said Lila, who claimed of earning Rs 50,000 per month. “After eight months of working there, my sister shifted to another company and I found myself lonely. I started feeling home sick and remembered my game. I asked the company officials and they allowed me to return back,” she said.

“I know I have done a mistake. But that was not my intention. I am ready to face the consequences but I want to return back to the game and play for the country,” Lila said. The Nepal Judo Association (NJA) have banned Lila for two years and decided to take back the expenses

incurred for Lila’s participation in the tournament.

The 20-year-old Lila said she was ready to pay the money back but has shown interests to represent the country in the 11th South Asian Games to be held in Dhaka next year.

The NJA looks to have soft corner on that matter. “Now she has come back by herself and pleaded guilty, we will decide about her return from our meeting,” said NJA President Deepak Harsha Bajracharya. “She (Lila) is one of the best judo players. I have asked her to submit a request letter and rest the committee would decide,” he added.

A total of six members - three players and three officials — had gone to South Korea to take part in the tournament in two teams. From the first team of Lila, Trishna Gurung and coach Chandra Dangol, Lila stayed back in Busan. The second team comprised of player Suraj Mahat, manager Sudep Mahat and IJF continental referee Binod Raj Sainju. Manager Sudep and referee Binod were suspended by the NJA after they were found to have helped Suraj in fleeing the team without taking part in the tournament.

“While Sudep is still under suspension, Binod resigned from the association,” said NJA President Bajracharya. “We face so many difficulties after these two players absconded in South Korea. To control this, we have decided not to send teams in South Korea, Japan, America and Europe,” he said.