Lalitpur, December 1
The Nepal Olympic Committee is hosting the first official meeting of South Asian Olympic Council in Kathmandu this Saturday.
The dates of the 13th South Asian Games to be hosted by Nepal, nomination of President and General Secretary of the SAOC, establishment of headquarters and regular amendment of the statute are among the agendas which will be discussed in the meeting, informed NOC President Jeevan Ram Shrestha at a press meet today.
Nepal had received the SAOC Flag during the closing ceremony of the 12th SA Games held in Guwahati, India in February 5-14 along with the decision of hosting the next edition in 2018. The biennial sporting extravaganza was held in India five years after Dhaka hosted the 11th SA Games and Nepal are on similar path with the most of the infrastructure devastated by the earthquake that jolted the nation in April last year.
Sri Lanka has shown their interest in hosting the Games in 2018 but the Nepali side has been adamant in passing the rights. “It is true that Sri Lanka is interested in hosting the 13th edition of the Games,” said NOC President Shrestha. “The Sri Lankan officials have repeatedly asked us to allow them to host the Games as they think that Nepal will not be able to meet the deadline in the absence of proper infrastructure. But it’s our turn to host the Games and we have to do that as we have received the flag following the commitment from the government,” he added.
Shrestha said the NOC was in constant contact with the government and there was no question of passing over the hosting rights to other nations. “The government has already formed the organising committee after agreeing in principal to host the Games. Under current situation, the hosting of the Games is a challenge and at the same time it is an opportunity for Nepali sports. If we do the works with sincerely, we can meet the deadline,” he added.
Representatives from seven National Olympic Committees — Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and Bhutan — are scheduled to meet on Saturday. The eighth nation, Afghanistan will not be in SAOC from this year as it has decided to join Central Asia region. “Except for India, all other NOCs have confirmed their participation in the meeting and we are expecting the Indian delegates to finalise their itinerary by tomorrow,” Shrestha said.
Meanwhile, the executive committee meeting held on Wednesday decided to establish the NOC Excellence Award, organise its annual general assembly on December 15 and hold the second National Sports Congress on December 16-17. Under the Excellence Award, the NOC will award two each national associations, players and coaches apart from six sports journalists.
“We will start the award from next year’s AGM and each of the winners will be awarded with Rs 25,000. An independent selection committee would be formed to select the winners,” said NOC General Secretary Lama Tendi Sherpa. “This year we are honouring two journalists — Shyam Chitrakar and Raju Silwal — who have contributed in the Olympic Movement,” he added.
The NOC is also honouring the 12th SA Games medal winning national associations and Nepal Sports Journalists Forum in this year’s general assembly.
A version of this article appears in print on December 02, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.