Nepal yet to strike gold; win two more bronze medals

DHAKA: The wait for gold medal is not over yet as Nepal could only add a bronze to that of the six they had won so far until Tuesday during the 11th South Asian Games here today.

Shooters Tikaram Shrestha, Chanas Rai and Krishna Bahadur Ghorasaini clinched the bronze in the Men’s Team 10m Air Rifle today. Four Judokas Deepak Krishna Shrestha (below 73kg), Rajan Joshi (+105kg), Debu Thapa (below 63kg) and Radha Devi Rai (below 52kg) had provided Nepal the bronze medals along with two from men and women’s badminton teams.

Nepal are also assured of two more bronze medals — men and women’s kabaddi, who have already ended their campaign but are awaiting the championship decider to get the medals.

While Nepal’s challenge in badminton, cycling, men’s football, hockey, kabaddi and volleyball is over, there are still chances to claim medals in men’s and women’s 10m Air Pistol Team and Individual events. Despite losing three consecutive matches, cricketers also have an opportunity to win bronze provided they beat Maldives in their last league match, which will open the door for a third-place playoff.

Nepal are already out of the Individual event in squash and have also already lost their first match against Sri Lanka 3-0 in the Team Event. Considering their opponents, Pakistan, in their next match on Thursday, Nepal have a slim chance to win a medal.

Women’s football, however, have compensated the miserable exit of the men’s team by winning both their matches. They are the only second team after India to have won both their matches. Their emphatic 8-0 drubbing of Sri Lanka on Tuesday have leased a new life. They have posed themselves not just as a medal contender but also one of the championship favourites. Even if handball fails to win a medal, they have already impressed by advancing to the semi-finals where they are set to play Pakistan.

Not all is over for Nepal as their main hope — martial arts — is yet to kick off. Taekwondo, karate and wushu are the disciplines Nepal are pinning hopes for gold medals. While Deepak Bista will be eying the fourth consecutive taekwondo gold, Manita Shahi and Ayesha Shakya will add to their 10th SA Games accolades. Shahi had won the gold during the 10th edition where Ayesha settled for a silver medal.

Kushal Shrestha will be trying to repeat the success of Colombo in kumite while the new faces will represent Nepal in wushu in the absence of Raj Kumar Rasaili and Bina Khadka Lama. Raj Kumar and Bina had won gold medals in Colombo.

In athletics, the 10th SAG silver medallist Arjun Bhandari and middle distance double gold medallist Rajendra Bhandari will be the players to watch in marathon. Rajendra had won the 1,500m steeplechase and 5,000m gold medals in the 10th SAG but was deprived of the honour after failing in doping test.

The other disciplines Nepal are yet to compete include archery, boxing, swimming, table tennis and wrestling.


DHAKA: Nepal claimed the first bronze medal in the men’s 10m Air Rifle shooting held at the National Shooting Complex on Wednesday.

The team of Tikaram Shrestha, Chanas Rai and Krishna Bahadur Ghorasaini scored a total of 1719 points to clinch the third place. Tikaram got the opportunity to compete in the Individual event after finishing the best among the three shooters.

Tikaram scored 578, Chanas earned 574 and Krishna Bahadur accumulated 567 points in the Team Event. The Bangladeshi team of Asif Hossain Kahn (596), Abdulla-Hel-Baka (591)and Shovon Chowdhury (588) won gold while India’s Imran Hasan Khan (594), Satyendra Singh (588) and Dhirendra Singh Jamwal (582) clinched silver medal.

Tikaram, however, finished last in the eight-man Individual event. Imran Hasan Khan of India won the gold, ahead of Bangladeshi duo of Asif Hossain Khan and Shovon Chowdhury. Tikaram, who deserted the team even before participating in his event at the 2004 Athens Olympics, was also a member of the Nepali squad that won the Team Event bronze during the eighth SAF Games in 1999 in Kathmandu, where Nepal also clinched two Men’s Team Event bronze and a Women’s Team bronze medals.

Ashmita Shrestha is the only Nepali player to have struck a gold medal when she won the singles championship in fifth edition in 1995 in Colombo. Women’s Team had also won a silver and a bronze during the same event. Likewise, the Women’ Team had also claimed a bronze in the seventh SAF Games in 1995 in Madras. Nepal will compete in Women’s 10m Air Pistol Team and Individual events on Thursday.


Dhaka: Anil Gurung scored a brace in their 2-0 win over Bhutan to help save Nepal’s blushes in the men’s football here at the Bangabandhu National Stadium today.

The match bore no significance to either of the nations following their losses to Bangladesh and Maldives. Nepal can at least take solace from the match as they maintained their unbeaten run against Bhutan in any form of international football. “How could have we returned home had we lost even against Bhutan,” said the Nepali coach Yugambar Suwal. “It was a consolation win but overall a bitter experience in Dhaka,” he added.

Anil gave Nepal the 33rd minute lead, scoring cleverly from inside the box. The I-league outfit Shillong Lajong forward added the second following a pass from Nabil Three Star Club striker Santosh Sahukhala.

Instead of commenting on today’s match, Suwal preferred to analyze the previous two matches. “We had set a strategy against Bangladesh which might have invited more pressure to our players,” said Suwal adding the team completely failed in the strategic planning. Suwal also lamented the poor refereeing in the match against Maldives resulted in a psychological pressure for the players.


DHAKA: Nepal’s hopes of advancing to the men’s basketball final was shattered when Afghanistan crushed them 107-34 on Wednesday. Nepali players were a no match for physically and technically sound opponents. Afghanistani dominance was such that Nepal scored their first point only after conceding 21 points. They trailed 32-10 in the first quarter and 57-16 in the second. Afghanistan netted 50 in the next two quarters while Nepal scored 18 points. Eight of the Afghani players had been training in Los Angeles for the last three months before the SA Games. Despite the result, Nepal still have a chance to win a bronze medal.


DHAKA: Nepal suffered the heaviest defeat in hockey till date when the team went down 24-0 at the hands of Bangladesh on Wednesday. Nepal, who last played in the seventh SAF Games in 1995, also set a new record of conceding a maximum number of goals during a meet. In their four matches played here, Nepal conceded an embarrassing 79 goals. They were beaten 21-0 by India, 19-0 by Pakistan and 15-1 by Sri Lanka in their previous matches. When Nepal last played in the regional games in 1995, they had conceded 54 goals in three matches. The only consolation for the Nepali team in Dhaka was that Dipendra Airee became the only second player to score an international goal. Jitendra Man Shrestha was the first to have scored the first goal for Nepal during their 22-1 loss against Pakistan in the 1995 SAF Games.


DHAKA: Nepal No 1 amateur golfer Rupak Acharya lie eighth in the 28-men field after the first round of the golf tournament here at the Kurmitola Golf Club on Wednesday. Played under stroke-play format, Rupak had the best card among the four Nepali golfers with three-over 75. Tashi Tsering shot nine-over 81, Tashi Ghale had 12-over 84 and debutante Bishnu Prasad Sharma came with a card of 15-over 87. In the team event, Nepal are in the fifth position with a total score of 240 points.

Bangladesh lead the team event followed by Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. Bhutan lie sixth and Afghanistan are at the bottom.

Seven nations except for Maldives are participating in the tournament. Only three best scores will account for the team total.


DHAKA: Nepal made it to the semi-finals in the men’s handball thanks to Bangladesh’s 48-18 win over Afghanistan here on Wednesday. Nepal, who ended their Group B league round with win over Afghanistan on Tuesday, advanced as runners up to Bangladesh. Nepal will now play Group A winners Pakistan, who beat India 33-31, for a place in the final. Nepal’s win over Afghanistan on Tuesday was the first ever victory in international tournament since they last participated at the second SAF Championship here Dhaka in 2000, where they lost to India and Bangladesh.