Rio de Janeiro, August 18
Nepali taekwondo player Nisha Rawal believed she could put her best show when she faces world champion Zheng Shuyin of China in the Rio Olympic Games here at the Arena Carioca on Friday.
Rawal was drawn against Shuyin for the round of 16 bout of the above-67kg. “She is a good player, a world No 1 athlete in this weight category,” said Rawal of her opponent. “I know she is stronger than me, but I am committed to put in my best show and give a tough challenge to her,” she added.
The 21-year-old Rawal arrived here with an aim of winning at least one bout and was waiting for a favourable draw. “I will try my best to put up a good fight,” added Rawal, who was not fully satisfied with the preparation. Rawal was sent to South Korea for a month-long training under the Olympic Scholarship programme but she has taken that as a waste of time. “It would have been better if I had got the chance to train with a single coach from the beginning. I went to Korea for a month but could not train there properly,” she added. “The training was halted for several days because of tournaments. We need at least one-year training for Olympics.”
Rawal said she could train properly under Sangina Baidya after returning back from Korea. “I trained under an Olympian coach for the last one month and that was fruitful,” said Rawal. “Apart from training, she also shared her experience of 2004 Athens Olympic Games, which will help me a lot,” said Rawal. “I have put in a lot of hard works for this bout and I have learnt a lot from the coach. I am committed to use all the techniques and follow her instructions to do my best.”
Rawal said she was happy to get the opportunity to represent the country in Olympic Games. “Every player dreams of playing in Olympics and my dreams are fulfilled. I am more than happy to be an Olympian,” she said. Rawal, who started playing taekwondo since she was in school 11 years ago, won gold medal in her first international appearance in the Mt Everest Taekwondo Championship in 2014. She also took part in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon and Universiade Games in Korea the next year. She won silver medal in Zenzu Open in Korean in 2015 and bagged gold in Hong Kong Asia Cities Open earlier this year. She also represented the country in the Asian Qualifiers for the Olympic Games earlier this year in Manila.
Baidya is the first Nepali player to qualify for Olympics when she earned berth in the Athens Games in 2004. “For me, it’s second Olympic Games. I was a player in 2004 and today I am representing my nation as a coach. This is a proud moment for me,” said Baidya, who is known as Taekwondo Queen in sports fraternity. “The roles are different but the responsibility is same: to do well. And I have not left any stone unturned to prepare Rawal for this Games,” said Baidya.
After Rawal was drawn against the Chinese player, who is obviously stronger than us, I have been focusing on mentally preparing Rawal for the bout. “No matter how strong the opponent is, you have to put up your best show and give a tough fight,” she said. “And I am confident that Rawal will not let us down, she will try her best. She is ready for the bout, both mentally and physically. After watching the video of Shuyin’s playing style, I have given some tips to Rawal. I am hoping for the best,” added Baidya.
A version of this article appears in print on August 19, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.