India eager to welcome Nepali contingent

Kathmandu, January 15

Indian officials today said the hosts of the 12th South Asian Games were eagerly waiting to welcome Nepali delegates when the regional event begins next month on Guwahati and Shillong.

Nepal, one the three countries participating in all 23 events included in the Games, is preparing to send a strong contingent to India in the South Asian sports extravaganza. Head of the Indian delegation and Member of Parliament Vincent H Pala said the team was here to spread the message of the Games.

“This is the third time we are organising the tournament in India since its inception in Nepal in 1983,” said Pala during a joint press conference. “On behalf of the government of India and the organising committee, we will be more than happy to welcome you in India for the games,” he said. “The Games is being held in North India which shares similar culture and weather with Nepal. You will not have any problem as we have a huge Gurkha Regiment in North India and you can find many Nepali-speaking people there,” added Pala.

Asked about the management part to avoid unwanted hassles for the athletes, Pale said India was organising the event for the third time and they had the full-proof security arrangement for the Games. “We have multi layered security and all the venues will be under CCTV surveillance round the clock,” he said.

The delegation team also included RK Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of Organising Committee of the 12th South Asian Games, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmed, Member of Indian Olympic Committee and Secretary General of Hockey India, and AK Singh, representative from Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Roshan Lepcha, Second Secretary at Embassy of India in Kathmandu and Nodal Officer for the 12th SA Games was also present on the occasion.

Earlier, the Indian officials met with Minister for Youth and Sports Satya Narayan Mandal and invited him to attend the Games. “I am thankful to minister Mandal as he has accepted our invitation to attend both the opening and closing ceremonies,” Pala said. The team also went to Nepal Olympic Committee in the morning and met with President Jeevan Ram Shrestha.

A total of 1505 men and 1167 women athletes, 605 officials, 200 international technical officials and 100 international media are expected to take part in the Games, the team informed in a presentation prepared by Singh. Nepal has confirmed 211 men and 187 women players in 23 disciplines, while hosts India and Sri Lanka are the other two nations taking part in all the events. “The Games is the biggest sporting extravaganza ever in North India and first ever gender equal SA Games with men and women participation in all sports,” the team informed.

The biennial Games is being held after a gap of five years since 2010 Dhaka Games. “Yes, it is supposed to be held every two years but could not be organised because of various reasons. We are holding this event in real time frame after Indian PM Narendra Modi gave nod for the Games. This edition is also delayed as we were not supposed to organise it and we volunteered for this time,” said CEO Sharma. “We will try as much as we can to hold the Games regularly from now on,” Sharma added.

National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista said Nepal was sending a big team to India with lots of hopes. “Despite have so many difficulties in the country, we are taking part in all the events with high morale,” he said. “Our participation is not just for winning medal but also to give positive message to the world and also strengthen the bilateral relation with India,” he said. “The SA Games is the common programme of all the eight nations of the region and it is our duty to make it a grand success,” he added. Vice-president of NSC and General Secretary of Nepal Olympic Committee Lama Tendi Sherpa said the Games would help in strengthening brotherhood among the people of the two nations. The four-member delegation team met with National Sports Council officials and also exchanged the token of love before the joint press conference.