NOC assures of karate inclusion in SA Games


Nepal Olympic Committee on Friday assured the players and coaches about the inclusion of karate in the 12th South Asian Games to be held in India next year.

NOC President Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan told a group of karatekas that the sport with glorious history would definitely be included in the regional games and other participating nations were also in Nepal’s side during last week’s South Asian Olympic Council (SAOC) meeting in New Delhi.

“I am happy that you have come here with a concern about your sport and that you are willing to compete,” said Pradhan addressing a gathering of karate players and coaches who had assembled to put pressure on the NOC to lobby for the inclusion of their sport in the SA Games. “You can continue with the training and prepare yourselves for the regional meet,” Pradhan said. “I assure you all that we have put our case strongly and as all other South Asian nations have agreed to our proposal, karate will be included in the Games,” said Pradhan.

Karate coach Deepak Shrestha, the two-time South Asian Games gold medallist, said the players were worried after media reports suggest cloud over the inclusion of their sport in the Games. “There were confusing reports in different media after the SAOC meeting. And the players, who have been training for three years to showcase their talent in the regional games, have gathered here with a hope of clearing the clouds,” Shrestha added.

Chief karate coach Mahesh Shrestha and players preparing for the South Asian Games were present on the occasion.

NOC General Secretary Jeevan Ram Shrestha said the players’ concerns were obvious. “The organisers proposed 22 sports for the 12th edition of the games and karate was not in the list and seven other sports were without women events,” said Shrestha. “We have put up a strong proposal and other member nations also backed us,” he added. “We have asked the organisers to include karate along with other popular sports — chess, tennis and cricket — and emerging sports — golf, sambo, fencing and sepak takraw — in the Games,” said the former Member Secretary of the National Sports Council.

“Karate is just not a sport for us, we have pride attached with it as the sport has brought in glory for the country. So we opposed the organisers’ proposal and asked them to include karate in the Games,” he added. “Regarding the women players’ participations, we reminded them about the gender equality and they have already agreed in this case,” Shrestha said. “The meeting has agreed in principal about including all 22 sports from the Dhaka Games,” he added.

NOC President Pradhan said the final decision would be taken during a technical committee meeting later. “They will first finalise the date somewhere between December this year to February next year,” said Pradhan, “Once the dates are confirmed, the number of events will be discussed for final approval,” Pradhan added.

Asked about the existence of parallel bodies in various sports disciplines and the status of the players to participate in the Games, Pradhan said National Team from all the sports would compete. “Unlike the past, we will have one national team in every sport and there will no confusion this time around,” he claimed. Pradhan also said the NOC would start the process of hiring foreign coaches once the events were finalised. “There is no problem in bringing in foreign coaches, and we will do that in coordination with the National Sports Council,” he added.