Nepali shooter Kalpana Pariyar has earned wild card for the Tokyo Olympic Games slated for July 23 to August 8 in Japan.

Pariyar became the first Nepali athlete to get wild card entry to the Tokyo Games and fourth confirmed player so far. Swimmers Gaurika Singh and Alex Shah have already been confirmed for the Olympics under the universal quota, while athlete Gopi Chandra Parki earned the berth after winning the selection tournament, the sixth Dhara Nepalgunj Marathon.

The Tribhuvan Army Club shooter, Pariyar edged past Nepal champion and national record holder Sushmita Nepal in the race to earn the wild card. The Nepal Olympic Committee and Nepal Shooting Association had proposed Pariyar and Nepal for the wild card in 10m Air Rifle event. The shooters are among the 12 athletes training under the Olympic Scholarship programme for the Tokyo Games.

Pariyar, who has never won a national championship title in individual event, pipped Nepal with two performances.

The two shooters had participated in the 2019 Asian Judo Championship in Doha where Pariyar scored 613.5 points and Nepal earned 605. Pariyar posted 614.5 points - the highest among the Nepali shooters in 10m Air Rifle event in the 13th South Asian Games held on home soil.

Pariyar could not believe that she was selected for the Olympics. "I was shocked to know that I got the chance to participate in the Olympic Games. I cannot express the excitement in words," said Pariyar.

"Like every other athlete, I also had a dream of participating in the Olympics and I am more than happy to get the opportunity to represent my country in the biggest sporting extravaganza of the world," she added.

Pariyar was equally sad for her friend Sushmita Nepal. "I am feeling bad for her as my friend could not get the chance. We trained and took part in many event together," she added.

"Now that I have been selected for the Games, I will give my 100 per cent. We have been training hard on a regular basis despite the lockdown and I hope to perform well in the Olympics," concluded Pariyar, who has the experience of participating in Asian Games and World Cup qualifying.

Pariyar became an athlete only after joining the Nepali Army in 2013. Pariyar was sent to the TAC after she came first in firing drills and won award in training.

"I did not join Army to become a player but the one-year training changed the course of my life and today I am a shooter," said Pariyar.

"I never aspired to be an athlete and I even did not know about the sport," she added.

Nepal has applied for wild cards for a total of 12 athletes. The remaining 10 players include judokas Indra Bahadur Shrestha and Soniya Bhatta, karatekas Nabin Rasaili and Anu Adhikari, lifters Sanju Chaudhary and Kamala Shrestha, archers Gyanu Awale and Tilak Pun Magar, taekwondo player Bir Bahadur Mahara and boxer Meenu Gurung.

Out of the 12 players processed for the wild cards, judoka Sonia Bhatta and boxer Meenu Gurung are the only two players who have not received Olympic Scholarship.

Swimmers Gaurika Singh and Alex Shah are the other two athletes who have been training under the Olympic Scholarship programme.

The 12 athletes have been getting $500 per month since May 2019 for their training.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 29, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.