The Kathmandu Badminton Academy honoured the former women national champions on the occasion of the 111th International Women's Day here today.

The KBA felicitated the singles, doubles and mixed doubles national champions since 1952 and lauded their contribution in Nepali badminton.

KBA Secretary Deepak Thapa, who himself performed the role of emcee, outlined the importance of women badminton players in the development of the sport.

The KBA feted former national champions Anupama Maskey Shrestha, Vidhya Bhandari Thapa, Brinda Poudel Simkhada, Jayanti Pandey Basnet, Kalpana Rana, Raj Devi Manandhar, Rajani Maiya Joshi, Rita Adhikari Bista, who is currently the chairperson of KBA, Shanti Manandhar, Shila KC Pradhan, Shuva Shrestha and Dr Rita Thapa. Out of the 18 former national champions, five - Sara Devi Tamang, Monika Rai, Sumina Shrestha, Rima Shrestha and Chhaya Shrestha - were not present at the programme, while one - Sushila Badal Shrestha - passed away nine years ago. The KBA also honoured sports journalist Sarita Shrestha for her significant contribution in the development of sports.

Minister for Youth and Sports Dawa Tamang, President of Nepal Badminton Association Ramji Bahadur Shrestha, former NBA Presidents Prakash Bahadur Shahi and Ramesh Shrestha, seven-time national champion and former Member Secretary of National Sports Council Kishor Bahadur Singh, President of Nepal Golf Association Tashi Ghale, Nepal National and International Players Association President Deepak Shrestha, NSC Member Hari Khadka, and legendary badminton player Mohan Bahadur Shahi among others handed over award, shawl and gift hampers to the former national champions.

After being felicitated Dr Rita Thapa, who is currently a golf player, urged the women to take one sport at least.

"Sweating out through sports activities is an addiction and it helps our health in many ways," said Thapa, who thanked the KBA for reuniting with her long-time friend, badminton.

Meanwhile, the Women's and Sports Commission under the Nepal Olympic Committee honoured former athlete Bimala Joshi Amatya and NSC staff Bhawani Adhikari Pakhrin. NOC President Jeevan Ram Shrestha along with Women's and Sports Commission President Jyoti Rana handed over Rs 25,000 each to middle-distance runner Amatya - who won bronze medal in the third SAF Games in Kolkata in 1987 - and Pakhrin - who has been working at the NSC for three decades - at a programme organised to mark the 111th International Women's Day. The Commission has decided to honour one each athlete and administrative staff every year unlike in the past when the programme was held once in two years. The Commission started the felicitation programme in 2012.

Also, the All Nepal Football Association marked the 111th International Women's Day by organising the AFC Women's Football Day programme apart from honouring Nepali International Niru Thapa for her contribution to Nepali football. A friendly match between the teams of ANFA office bearers, former and current women footballers and referees was played.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 09, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.