Nepal's Nisha Rawal earns Rio Olympics tickets

KATHMANDU: Nepali taekwondo player Nisha Rawal has earned the wild card for the Rio Olympic Games slated for August 5-21 in Brazil.

According to Nepal Olympic Committee, Nepal had applied for wild cards in six sports disciplines and it got the confirmation of taekwondo today.

Other sports included judo, archery, boxing, badminton and shooting. “We got the confirmation of taekwondo today and the Tripartite Commission of Olympic Games is yet to make the decision about other sports,” NOC said in a release.

Rawal, heavyweight Nepali player, will take part in above-73kg weight category in Rio.

She is one of the four players who earned wild cards for the Rio Games. Faisal Jeylani Aweys of Somalia, Aniya Louissant of Haití, and Miguel Ferrera of Honduras are the others who earned tickets.

Hosts Brazil kept other four spots for their players.

Rawal, who has been selected as one of the six athletes for the Rio Olympic Scholarship programme since January last year, had participated in the above-67kg weight category in the Asian Taekwondo Qualifying Championship held in Manila from April 16-17 in Manila.

Rawal, who was named the best player of the year in her sport by Nepal National and International Players Association days before leaving for Manila, lost her first-round bout. Among other players who tried their luck in the Olympic qualifying, Neema Gurung was joint third.

As per the IOC rules, only top two earn Olympic berths. Ranjan Shrestha and Bir Bahadur Mahara also took part in the qualifiers.

The wild card meant Nepali taekwondo will be making its comeback in Olympics after 2008 Beijing Games.

Sangina Baidya had qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics becoming the first Nepali athlete to achieve the feat, while another taekwondo ace Deepak Bista earned qualification for the 2008 Beijing Games. Nepal failed to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games