Kathmandu, September 12
Nepali shooters are preparing for the upcoming 13th South Asian Games in new facilities built by Chinese government at the International Sports Complex.
The Chinese government has installed modern equipment along with the construction of three shooting ranges — 10m, 25m and 50m — and a total of 23 shooters, who are undergoing close camp preparation for the SA Games, have been training at the facility, which was rebuilt at the estimated cost of Rs 200 million.
Built for the first time in 1999 for the eighth South Asian Federation Games, the Chinese government reconstructed the ranges after the 2015 massive earthquake damaged the facilities. The Chinese government had planned to hand over all the projects, including the Dasharath Stadium, only after completing all the facilities. But Member Secretary of National Sports Council Ramesh Kumar Silwal convinced the contractors and was able to take charge of the shooting range for the training of the players.
The Nepali shooters were forced to practice only the holding of their equipment under open sky and train twice a week at Nepali Army facilities. But now they are happy to get the opportunity to train at the newly-built facilities. “We have been training in these facilities since Sunday and the players are building their confidence,” said coach Upendra Thapa.
Thapa said he was focusing on 10m events and that the training was divided into two parts. “We do physical training at Tundikhel and the players practice here at the range for three to four hours a day,” he added. Asked about the target in the SA Games, coach Thapa said the Nepali shooters needed to compete against top opponents of the region. “Indian shooters are way ahead of other countries and we are eyeing to get at least four silver medal in men’s air pistol and women’s air rifle events,” he added.
Nepal will take part in individual events in 10m air pistol and rifle along with team events in both sections and mixed team events. Sushmita Nepal, the eighth National Games gold medallist in women’s 10m air rifle event, said the performance was getting better day by day. “We are excited to take part in the SA Games and at the same time we are scared as we do not have much time left now,” said Nepal. “The new facilities did not affect me much as I had already participated in international events. But some of the players found it hard to get used to it with the new technology,” said Nepal.
Nepal said the new facilities alone would not be enough to get medals in the SA Games. “We also need new equipment to perform better in the Games. We are using the guns which are generally used by junior players. Along with the new guns, we also need to have new dress and shoes if we are to perform better,” she added.
Another shooter, Arnav Ghimire said the training was satisfactory.“We have been responding well to the new facilities and the coach is also taking the training seriously,” said Ghimire. “We are gradually improving and we are trying our best to get results,” he added.
Secretary of Nepal Shooting Association Pradeep Khati said the list of equipment had already been submitted to the National Sports Council and that they were hoping to get them on time. “We have requested the NSC to provide us with six each rifles, pistols and stands for the SA Games,” said Khati. “With the new facilities in place, which is the best one in South Asian region, the players can perform better than previous events. But for that we need to get the required equipment before November 1 so that the players can train with them for a month or so.”
A version of this article appears in print on September 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.