Sunsari, December 29
Minister for Youth and Sports Daljit Sripaili and National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista had vowed that the seventh National Games would be historic and that all the venues would be of international standard.
The Games officially began on December 23 with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari inaugurating the sporting extravaganza at the Shahid Maidan Stadium in Biratnagar.
Around 4,000 athletes and 1,000 officials had gathered in the eastern region to compete for 294 golds, as many silvers and 447 bronze medals. But disappointment among athletes began as soon as they reached their respective venues only to discover the poor and unfit pitches along with poor management.
The National Sports Council was so ill-prepared for the Games that no one could be happy with the venues and the management. The organisers not only failed to keep their promises but also turned deaf ears to the pleas of athletes.
The Games is coming to its end. The closing ceremony was to be held at Dharan Stadium tomorrow with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal as chief guest.
Like other venues and competition arenas, the Dharan Stadium is also not ready to host the closing ceremony, thanks to the poor management.
The organisers now have decided to shift the closing ceremony venue to ANFA Technical Centre, also in Dharan.
“We had to change the venue of the closing ceremony as construction was still under way at the Dharan Stadium,” said NSC Press Adviser Rohit Dahal. “We had to plan a lot of things for the closing ceremony at the Dharan Stadium and that could have affected the construction workthere,” Dahal added.
The organisers have also changed the chief guest for the closing ceremony. In the place of PM Dahal, Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun will grace the closing ceremony as chief guest. “Vice-president Pun wanted to watch the football final match before the closing ceremony.
It would be difficult for us to manage the VVIP movement from the football venue to the closing ceremony venue,” Rohit Dahal tried to justify the reason behind the change of venue.
The organisers have also cancelled the plan of bringing national record holders to the closing ceremony in paragliders following the change of venue. NSC Member Secretary Bista had said that 25 paragliders were hired to bring the athletes.
Around 5,000 athletes and officials were expected to take part in the closing ceremony with various troupes participating cultural shows and demonstrations. But as the ANFA Technical Centre is a 1,500-capacity venue, the organisers are struggling to ensure the smooth functioning of the closing ceremony.
A version of this article appears in print on December 30, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.