Olympics participation or recreational tour?

Seven players, 23 officials headed for China

Kathmandu, July 6:

Head of the Nepali sports governing bodies have always been criticised for using the power and authority for their self interests rather than for the betterment of the sports and the sportspersons.

The fact that Nepal will lead 30 members, of which only seven are players, for the August 8 Beijing Olympics exemplify this fact. Furthermore, Nepal have entered the ‘new era’ but

the sports governing bodies — Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) and National Sports Council (NSC) — have given continuity to

the legacy of their predecessor. They have kept the tradition not to reveal the names of the officials representing the Olympics.

The reason is obvious by the fact that both the NOC president Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan and NSC general secretary, who is also the NOC general secretary - Jeevan Ram Shrestha are likely to be accompanied to Beijing by their wives. Had they really been concerned with the betterment of the sports, there would have been no reasons to keep secret the IOC quotas or financial support Nepal received for the Olympic Games.

As being the heads of the NOC and NSC, it could be argued that the IOC have invited the couples for the Games but there could not be any justification for selection your sibling in such an prestigious event. One of the NSC officials, seeking anonymity, said that NSC member secretary Jeevan Ram Shrestha have selected his nephew, Rajen Ram Shrestha, as one of the two youths for the Olympics Youth Camp. The other is Galaxy School student Nancy Lama. “It’s an utter misuse of power and authority,” he added. Taking a family member instead of a sportspersons would be nothing than a mockery of the sports.

Among the players participating in the Beijing Olympics are taekwondo ace Deepak Bista, athletes Arjun Kumar Basnet and Chandrakala Thapa, swimmers Prasiddha Jung Shah and Karishma Karki, shooter Fulmaya Kyapchhaki and judo player Debu Thapa. Bista is the only second player after Sangina Baidhya, also a taekwondo player, to qualify for the Games. Other six players received wild card entries.

According to NSC source, Korea’s Kwon Hyouk Joung and Nepal’s coach Deep Raj Gurung will accompany Bista as the taekwondo coach. Puspa Raj Ojha is the athletics coach, Pradeep Khati the shooting coach and Birendra Ranjit the judo coach. There is no space for the swimming coach as general secretary of the Nepal Swimming Association Ashok Bajracharya will enjoy the luxury of visiting Beijing. Rest of the Nepali delegation to Beijing Olympics are either NOC or NSC officials.

Apart from the players and coaches, members of the Nepali delegates at the Olympics are Sitaram Maskey (NSC vice-president), Umesh Lal Shrestha (NOC vice-president and Nepal Hockey Association president), Laxman Shrestha (NSC member and Nepal Volleyball Association president), Upendra Keshari Neupane (NOC treasurer), Hukum Raj Giri (NOC member and Federation of Republic Sports of Nepal vice-president), Sujan Lal Shrestha (NOC office secretary), Gita Rana (NOC Women’s Commission), Sunil Raj Karnikar (NOC member and Nepal Kabbadi Association president), Ravi Raj Thapa (NOC vice-president and Nepal Boxing Association president), Dr Saroj Shrestha (medical staff) and Shanker Pandey (secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports).

By the look of the Nepali delegates at the Olympics, it looks more of a recreational tour rather than the sports gala.