Taekwondo team off to South Korea

Kathmandu, October 11:

The dejected taekwondo players, who arrived home three weeks earlier to go to Manchester for the World Olympic Qualifying slated for September 28-30, returned to South Korea today.

Deepak Bista, Manita Shahi, Ayesha Shakya and Kumar Manandhar — who were deprived of the World Qualifying due to mismanagement of Nepal Taekwondo Association — along with coach Kwon Hyou Joung left for Korea to continue their special training.

“We could not take part in the world qualifying, but we will try our best to qualify through Asian qualifier,” said coach Joung. “Now, these players will resume their training with others who are in Korea and will take part in the Korea Open from November 1-3,” added Joung.

Asked the team to go to Vietnam for Asian qualifying, Joung said the team would be the same unless they fare very badly at the Korea Open. “These are the four players selected for Vietnam, but I can change them if they perform poor at the Korea Open,” he added.

Asked to rate the players as per their chances to qualify for the Olympics, Joung rated Manita a better candidate. “Manita can qualify, while other three will have to work really hard for the Asian qualifying,” said Joung.

The players still looked confident of earning the chance to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “As this would be the last chance to materalise my dream of playing in Olympics, I will put every effort in it,” said Deepak Bista, the three-time South Asian Games gold medallist and two-time Asian Games bronze winner.

Manita Shahi was equally confident, but was diplomatic when asked her chances of qualifying. “We have got two months to prepare and I will try to deliver my best,” she said. Shakya also said she do her best to get the Olympics tickets.

Manandhar said he was hopeful to go to Beijing Olympics. “We will continue our training and after playing in the Korea Open, I am hopeful that I can qualify for the Olympics,” he said. National Sports Council member secretary Jeevan Ram Shrestha and Nepal Taekwondo Association president Rukma Shumsher Rana bade farewell to the players.