Karki bags 100th SAG gold for Nepal

  • Of the 100 gold medals, 61 were won in Nepal, while 77 are from martial arts. Taekwondo and karate have contributed 35 and 30 golds, respectively

Kathmandu, December 4

Taekwondo player Saksham Karki won the 100th gold medal for Nepal in the history of South Asian Games here today.

Karki defeated Pakistan’s Waqar Ali Shah 27-9 in the above-87kg weight category final to win his maiden gold medal. The gold was Nepal’s 29th in the ongoing 13th edition of the regional sporting extravaganza and 100th overall.

Karki, who defeated Bangladesh’s Mohammad Alizanur Rahaman 39-7 in the first round before seeing off Sri Lankan player Siya Balapitiyage Blesh Dilka Sheron 24-17 in the semi-finals, recorded a landslide victory over Shah but not before struggling in the early stage.

He was 1-3 down at one stage and the players were tied at 7-all midway through the second round before Karki pulled away with a series of punches and kicks. He opened up 19-7 lead at the end of the round and added eight points in the final round conceding just two points.

Karki was the second taekwondo player to win the gold medal on the third day of the competition after Sangita Basyal had opened the account in women’s below-63kg category, beating India’s Gaganjot Gill 19-8 in the final.

Earlier, wushuka Deepak Hamal bagged gold in Nanquan Allround event under Taolu, while karateka Anupama Magar won women’s above-67kg section gold.

Nepal bagged historic gold medals in cycling when Rajesh Magar and Nishma Shrestha won downhill section races.

Nepal is hosting the regional meet for the record third time and it has bagged 61 gold medals on home soil so far. Out of the 100 gold medals, 77 are from martial arts with taekwondo and karate being the most successful ones with a tally of 35 and 30 golds, respectively. Wushukas have returned with eight and judokas with four gold medals.

Taekwondo player Deepak Bista is the most successful player in the history of SA Games with four gold medals from the eighth edition, while his wife and fellow taekwondo player Ayasha Shakya and legendary marathon runner Baikuntha Manandhar have won three golds each. Shakya and karateka Manday Kaji Shrestha became the first Nepali players to win two gold medals in a single meet in the ongoing event.

Footballers Raju Kaji Shakya and Umesh Pradhan, taekwondo players Sangina Baidya

and Renuka Magar, karateka Deepak Shrestha and late boxer Dal Bahadur Rana Magar have also won two gold medals each.

India is runaway leader in terms of gold medals with a total of 1,088 in 12 editions, while Pakistan is a distant second with 267 and Sri Lanka third at 212. Maldives is yet to open gold medal account.

Century in 35 years

  • Nepal had bagged four gold medals in the first South Asian Federation Games held in Kathmandu in 1984 — marathon runner Baikuntha Manandhar being the first gold medallist
  • Nepal won one gold in each of the second (India, 1985), fourth (Pakistan, 1989) and sixth (Bangladesh, 1993) editions of SAG
  • Nepal’s athletes bagged two golds apiece in the third (India, 1987) and fifth (Sri Lanka, 1991) editions of the games
  • Nepal claimed four gold medals in the seventh edition held in India in 1995
  • Nepal got record 31 gold medals in the eighth SAF Games held in Kathmandu riding on 14 each from taekwondo and karate and finished second in medal tally for the first time
  • Nepal’s gold tally was reduced to seven in the ninth edition held in Pakistan in 2004
  • Nepal’s athletes bagged seven gold medals in Sri Lanka in 2006
  • Nepal returned home with eight golds from Bangladesh in 2011
  • Nepal could win just three gold medals in the 2016 SAG edition held in India