Lifetime allowance for gold winners

KATHMANDU: The Youth and Sports Minister Ganesh Nepali today said the government is ready to give lifetime allowance to the eight gold medal winners of the 11th South Asian Games.

Minister Nepali said he would take the proposal to the cabinet meeting after holding talks with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. “The PM has already given his words of providing allowance to the gold medallists and we will discuss forward about the matter in the meeting,” said Nepali. However, Nepali would not disclose the proposed amount.

“We need to do our homework before taking the decision on providing the athletes with the lifetime allowances. Before that, we will have to work on rewarding the gold, silver and bronze medal winning individual players with Rs 300,000, Rs 200,000 and Rs 100,000 respectively,” said the minister. The National Sports Council had announced cash bounty to all the medal winners.

In an interaction programme with the Dhaka SA Games gold medallists today, the minister also assured of taking initiation for the national sports policy. He also said the government would investigate on the dispute between the kabaddi officials in Dhaka. Meanwhile, Nepali informed that the organising committee had already admitted their mistakes on playing the old national anthem and the hoisting of the Nepali flag upside down.

Meanwhile, the medal winning players pointed out the government’s weakness in treating sports.

Taekwondo ace Deepak Bista, who became the first player in the South Asian region to win four consecutive gold medals, said the training provided by the government was not enough in fulfilling big expectations. “Till date, the players have done everything on their own. We have been achieving more success despite the poor facilities provided by the government. We are also in need of national sports policy,” added the Olympian.

Long distance runner, Rajendra Bhandari — who erased the 10th SA Games bitterness by claiming marathon gold in Dhaka — said the Nepali athletics lacked technically sound coach and are not given proper diet. “A long distance runner like me needs at least 4,200 calories but we are given the diets without any proper research.” he accused. “I can bring an Asian Games gold for my country if I am given adequate calories,” challenged the Army athlete.

Wushu gold medallist Ang Babu Lama said Nepal lack proper preparation before going to big meet. “I was quite surprised when some of my foreign friends in Dhaka said they would now start their preparation for the 16th Asian Games to be held in China later this year” he said. “We don’t get much success in international arena due to the delayed preparations,” Lama added. He also said the athletes won’t lose their consistency if they get to continue the training after returning from tournaments.

Karate gold medallist, Binod Shakya pointed out weaknesses in the national association and blamed the government for not properly lobbying with the organising committee. “We were psychologically affected when some of our friends couldn’t participate in Dhaka,” said Shakya.

Taekwondo’s youth sensation Ayesha Shakya and Nepal’s first gold medallist in Dhaka, wushu player Binita Maharjan said the government needed to bring programmes to inspire the players who spend their life in sports. “The players toil hard to bring in medals for the country but they get nothing in return,” said Ayesha.