Although Nepal’s performance in the 13th South Asian Games was dismal compared to that of the previous years, Nepalese soccer team has compensated for all the defeats by winning the SAG soccer championship against South Asian soccer giant India.
Held in Indian northern state of Assam and Manipur, the finals saw the Nepalese soccer team making a history and a new record by defeating India 2-1. Nepal repeated history to win the gold medal in the South Asian Games men’s football by defeating India again after 23 years.
Attacking midfielder PrakashBudhathoki, lethal striker NawayugShrestha and brilliant custodian BikeshKuthu propelled Nepal to the triumph over the hosts India in their own backyard.
What a coincidence, another feather was added in the cap of chief coach RajuShakya, who was the captain when the Nepali team won the gold medal in the men’s football in the regional sports gala in Dhaka in 1993.
As Nepal won a gold medal each in Wushu and Judo, this is the third gold medal for Nepal in the 12th edition of SAG. Earlier, Nepal had won one gold medal each in Wushu and Judo.
Nepal bagged 5 more medals in SAG, with Gaurika Singh setting the national record in swimming and winning the first medal for Nepal in swimming.Thirteen-year-old Singh set a new national record while winning bronze medal for Nepal in the women’s 200 metres backstroke. She clocked 2:26.93 minutes to finish third.
However, Nepal’s performance in athletics was dismal in view of the fact that Nepal used to have good records in marathon with BaikunthManandhar's still unbeatable records.
Nepal’s athletics campaign in the 12th South Asian Games ended with just one bronze medal as the country went medal-less in both the men’s and women’s marathon in Guwahati.
Nepal’s most successful discipline in the Games, wushu, ran into trouble after the players alleged the team management to have deserted them to fend for themselves in difficulties.
By winning gold in soccer, Nepal has heaved a sigh of relief. However, Nepal’s performance in general is below par which seems to be affected by over politicization of sports.