Wushu eyes top spot in Nepal’s gold medal tally

Pokhara, January 21

Wushu players have been preparing for the upcoming 12th South Asian Games with high morale and are hoping to top Nepal’s tally with at least half-a-dozen gold medals.

A total of 16 players and five coaches are sweating it out for the regional games at the Pokhara Stadium and they look confident enough to dominate Nepal’s gold medal tally. Coach Suman Bhatta claims wushu will be the No 1 sport in the SA Games in terms of medals. “We will win the most number of gold medals in this edition of the SA Games,” says Bhatta. “Out of the 16 players, we are expecting gold medals from half of the squad,” claims Bhatta without naming the players.

Bhatta, however, says the closed camp started late and training is not sufficient for the players. “We started the closed camp late because the selection was not held on time. We should have at least three-four months for better results,” he says. “But we are confident of winning gold medals,” he says. “India and Sri Lanka are our main opponents in Taolu but we have prepared well despite having short period of time.”

Raj Kumar Rasaili, the 10th SA Games gold medallist, says the players are in no mood to take to any opponent lightly. “We cannot underestimate the opponents and we have to be ready to give our best,” says Rasaili, who will fight in 52kg weight category. “The training period is short but I have been putting in everything with the aim of winning gold medal,” says Rasaili. “India and Sri Lanka are strong in our region but I am mentally ready and have been preparing accordingly. My experience of 10th SA Games will help me in winning gold medal,” he adds.

Jharana Gurung, who hails from Pokhara, has also set a target of winning gold medal this time around. “Despite all odds, we are trying our level best in training and our morale is high,” says the 11th SA Games bronze medal winner. “The training period is not adequate and we should have at least three-month time for the regional games. I think I have improved a lot and committed to fulfill the dream of winning gold medal,” says Gurung, who believes India and Afghanistan players are her main oppositions.

Chief coach Pranil Dhoj Karki accepts the training period is short. “The team is dedicated and the players have been training for four hours a day. The coaches have also doing their best to prepare the players for the regional games. “I have found that the confidence level in players has gone up after we came to Pokhara,” says Karki, who is also the South Asia’s technical committee chief. “We are facing some problems in getting the equipment for the players but I am sure we will have them in couple of days,” he says.

Another player, Sushmita Tamang also rued the lack of adequate time for preparation. “We could have won more medals if the team was provided with enough time for training,” she says. “But we have been trying our level best to cover the training. “All the players are training with high morale and we have set a target to excel in our categories.” Apart from Karki and Bhatta, Ganesh Aryal, Arun Dutta and Prakash Maharjan are the other coaches in the team.b