Nepal’s participation in Asian meet doubtful

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s participation in the 18th Asian Athletics Championships to be

held in Guangzhou is under clouds due to the budget constraints.

The Nepal Amateur Athletics Association (NAAA) has selected four athletes for the event but the financial crisis in the association and National Sports Council (NSC)’s reluctance to help, have raised serious doubts over Nepal’s participation in the Asian meet.

Pramila Rijal, Keshari Chaudhary, Hari Kumar Rimal and Tilak Ram Mahato have been selected for the November 10-14 event. All of the four players are also selected for the 11th South Asian Games to be held Dhaka early next year.

“The Guangzhou event would cost us around Rs 400,000 but we are unable to arrange the amount. We sought assistance from NSC but they have refused to help,” said the NAAA General Secretary Rabi Raj Rajkarnikar. According to Rajkarnikar, NAAA has not received any financial help from sports governing body for last two years.

Rijal set the national record with 59.19 seconds in 400m at the recently held SA Games open selection tournament organised by NAAA while she is also the national champion in the event. Rijal is preparing for both of the events for Guangzhou where she is aiming to gain confidence for the SA Games with the participation in Asian meet.

Armyman Hari Kumar Rimal, though, has yet to make his mark — at least in the record books. Rimal won the 5000m and 1500m in open selection tournament but he will compete in the 1500m and 3000m steeple chase in what would be his first international appearance. Rimal, who is currently undergoing training in Kathmandu, has targeted to better his personal timing in the Guangzhou event.

Multi-talented Chaudhary dominated the last two national athletics events, winning six gold medals and setting a new triple jump record of 11.30m during the fifth National Games. She won long jump, high jump and triple jump gold in the fifth National Games and open selection tournament. She is also a national cricket team member. She will compete in the 100m and triple jump.

Meanwhile, Mahato is selected after winning the 100m and 200m gold in the selection tournament. It would be third consecutive blow for the Nepali athletes if they fail to compete in the Guangzhou event.

Earlier, Mahato was selected for the World Junior Athletics Championships

in Italy in July while Chaudhary along with Rimal were set to compete at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin in August but they were denied visas by the respective mbassies.

“If only NSC provide us with half the participation cost we could look for sponsors. But, we can’t expect all the amount from sponsors alone,” said Rajkarnikar. Rajkarnikar said the NAAA can reduce the number of participating players if they fail to manage the full budget for the participation in the Asian Athletics Championships. “We will seek help from the Youth and Sports Minister Ganesh Nepali. In case we don’t manage the amount, we will be forced to reduce the number of players,” added Rajkarnikar.