Triathlon team hopes for the best

Lalitpur, January 9

The National Sports Council has already started drawing criticism for the delay in preparing for the 12th South Asian Games, which is starting in India in less than a month time. The governing body has not been able to kick start the campaign for the regional sports extravaganza because of various internal reasons.

But the case is different with triathlon. Nepali triathlon athletes have been in training for more than 50 days, and without the help of NSC. Nepal Triathlon Association hired a foreigner coach eight weeks ago and Danish Peter Jakobsen has been giving Nepali athletes a tough time in training with an aim of winning gold medals in the South Asian Games.

Jakobsen, the two-time Hawaii Triathlon (3.8 miles swimming, 180km cycling and marathon) and Ultra Triathlon (19km swimming, 900km cycling and 200km running) participant, believes that Nepali players are the ones to beat in the regional games. “I think Nepal is going to be the toughest competitor in the South Asian Games,” says Jakobsen.

Jakobsen started with core training — biking, cycling and swimming — in the beginning and he says the players have improved a lot since. “We have not been in water yet, so we are focusing on lot of ground work as I believe in strong base. We have had a lot of mental training and also talked about nutrition,” he adds. “Now I believe the team is ready to go into the SA Games and every time I have a team or players, I always want to go out, compete and win,” Jakobsen says. The coach says the Nepali players are very strong in biking, mentally and physically, and good in running. “Now we need to get into water, it’s high time we start swimming as it is very important in triathlon. We have to do it although the weather condition is not favourable. We have to be smart and focus on what we can do,” he says.

Jakobsen says the players have potential to perform in international stage. I have a good group of people and the players have a lot of qualities. It’s difficult for me to point on one athlete as all of them are working so hard,” he says. “They are committed and have been attending the training session without complaining. They are into in with a lot of commitment and a big heart,” Jakobsen adds. “These players have improved a lot and for me, it’s a pleasure as they started taking in from day one. I have a big feeling that they have really developed. They are getting stronger, faster and better.”

NTA has selected eight players for the regional games and called in two athletes as a cover for injury. Rudra Katuwal, Tika Ram Thapa, Keshari Thapa and Rojo KC will compete in individual events, while Himal Tamata, Basanta Tharu, Yam Kumari Ghale and Yam Kumari Bhujel are in team event. Ramesh Darlami and Aas Narayan Chaudhary are in reserve list. Nepal will compete in three events — two in individual sections and one mixed.

One of the players, Katuwal said the training was totally different than in previous years and that the players were ready to win medals for the country. “It’s a special coaching,” said Katuwal. “The coach has given us many ideas and we have learnt a lot of new things from him,” he said. “The association has arranged a coach from internal resources and it has also provided equipment for training,” Katuwal added. Katuwal also rued the lack of swimming facilities. “We have been training cycling and running regularly but we are facing difficulty in swimming. We have tried to cover that with dry swimming as we don’t want that to affect us in our campaign,” he said. Katuwal said the players were working hard to win gold medals in the SA Games and they were hopeful of winning the No 1 position. “We are hopeful that we will return home with gold medals,” he added.

NTA General Secretary Nilendra Raj Shrestha said the association was pinning hopes on players for at least two gold medals. “Keeping in mind the SA Games, we started our training two months ago. The coach (Jakobsen) has focused in physical, mental and tactical aspects,” he said. “We are trying our level best to manage a heated swimming pool for training as we want to provide every facility available for the players as we are eying gold medals from them,” he said. The Nepali team will leave for Guwahati 10 days prior to the SA Games for final preparation.