Sangina: A successful name in Nepali sports

KATHMANDU: Sangina Baidya is arguably the best sportsperson in Nepali sports. She has enjoyed her reign as a top taekwondo player for more than 15 years. Sangina is also the most celebrated name in the Nepali sports history. She beat all odds to become the first Nepali player to qualify for the Olympics and also won the first-ever Asian level gold medal.

Her success story does not end here. She brought home 25 medals from 31 international participations. Her accolades include 20 gold, one silver and four bronze medals. She won all the 10 national level tournaments from 1992-2001 in Nepal.

She made her mark in taekwondo when she won four gold medals in 1992 — two in Color the Great Taekwondo Championships in Kathmandu and one each in second National Taekwondo Championship and Assam Invitational Taekwondo Championship. After that she never looked back and reached the height that a Nepali sportsperson dream of.

Sangina is the most successful player in terms of achievements. After winning four international gold medals and as many honours in the country, Sangina reached to a new height when she bagged the silver medal in the 11th Asian Taekwondo Championship in Philippines in 1994. In 1995, apart from winning two international and four national level gold medals, Sangina reached the quarter-finals at the 12th World taekwondo Championship in Philippines.

A proud moment came in 1996 when she clinched the 12th Asian taekwondo Championship gold medal in Australia, becoming the first Nepali player to win the Asian level gold medal. To add to that, she also won three more gold medals at home.

The year 1998 put brakes on her march. She broke her right leg when her motorcycle was hit by a bus in front of Dasharath Stadium couple of days before leaving to Bangkok for the 14th Asian Games. She remained at the hospital for six months.

Sangina still remembers the accident that prevented her from taking part in the Bangkok Asiad. “That was the most embarrassing moment of my career,” she says. “It still hurts. At the time when I was supposed to fight in the Asian Games, I was lying on the bed of hospital,” she says.

After recovering from the leg injury, Sangina was forced to start her training as a novice as she lost her usual flair. But she proved her caliber by winning the eighth SAF Games gold medal in 1999 in Kathmandu. The biggest moment in her

career came in 2004 when she qualified for the Athens Olympics. She won the bronze medal at the Asian regional taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

She was sent to South Korea for special training. But her march to the Olympics was marred when she fell sick and was forced to return home after one month. The same year, Sangina also won the ninth SAF Games gold medal in Islamabad. Sangina did not play any competitive match since losing in the semi-finals at the 10th South Asian Games in Colombo in 2006.

Today Sangina is a senior coach at the National Sports Council and she wants to pursue her career in taekwondo. “I cannot stay away from taekwondo. I will continue to serve the sport as a coach, referee or official,” she says.

Apart from the medals she won during her career, Sangina has also won more than two dozen awards from various associations. She is the three-time winner of the Player of the Year Award by Nepal Sports Journalists Forum and National Sports Council. She was named the Nuwakot Tara in 1998 and Nuwakot Ratna in 2000. In 2004, she won the National Education Award from the Education and Sports Ministry.

‘Manita, Ayesha can do well’

Kathmand: Taekwondo star Sangina Baidya said the players like Manita Shahi and Ayesha Shakya could follow into her footsteps.

Sangina, who announced her retirement today ending the 20-year long sparkling career, said the new generation players had potential to reach new heights. “There are number of good players at the moment and they are capable of reaching the new heights in taekwondo,” said Sangina, the first ever Nepali player to qualify for the Olympics, addressing the press meet after announcing her retirement.

“There are players like Manita Shahi and Ayesha Shakya, who can really do well in the field of taekwondo,” she said. “But for that they need to be more dedicated and concentrate on their training,” added Sangina, who won the 11th Asian Taekwondo Championship in 1996 in Australia becoming the first-ever Nepali sportsperson to win Asian level gold medal.

Manita Shahi is the 10th South Asian Games gold medallist and Ayesha Shakya the silver medallist. Both the players also

won the 15th Asian Games bronze medals in 2006 in Doha.

“They have the potential to even excell me,” said Sangina, the most successful player in the history of Nepali sports. “I wish them best of lucks for their success,” she added. — HNS

Sangina is a star: Rana

The President of Nepal Taekwondo Association Rukma Shumsher Rana described Sangina Baidya as a star in the sky of Nepali sports.

“She is a star of taekwondo that will always remain in the sky of Nepali sports and shine every moment,” said Rana of Sangina, who formally announced retirement from her playing career. Rana also lauded the achievements of Sangina. “She is the pride of our association,” said Rana. He hoped Sangina would now begin her next role as a teacher. “We are hopeful that she will begin her next innings as a teacher to produce the players like her,” Rana added.