If there is a will, there is away. This is what one can learn from the life of Dr. Khagendra Shrestha, a well-known physician. Although he has already crossed eighty, he is still active in his profession at Blue Cross Hospital in Tripureshwor.
Dr. Shrestha visits the clinic and checks a number of patients every day. Even at his age, Dr. Shrestha is active as if in his youth. A renowned soccer player of the 1950s, Dr. Shrestha draws his working spirit from his sportsmanship.
Sports has given me the much-needed energy and spirit to work. Sports has disciplined my life and provided me with the zeal to make the needed dedication and commitment to work, said Dr. Shrestha.
Despite retiring from active sports a long time ago, Dr. Shrestha still brings the passion of a sportsman to work. He organizes different kinds of sports programs dedicated to health workers of various ages.
Established on 13 December 2008, Dr. Khagendra Sports Foundation (DKSF) is the institution through which he has been organizing the programs annually.
With a view to engaging people in sports, which helps them to be healthy and disciplined (law-abiding) citizen, DKSF organized a meet for nurses, with the slogan, Running Means Health. Participation in the event would show that the nurses were healthy.
“This Meet is not a professional, nor a top-level event, but an amateurish yet competitive meet of the nurses. They just try to perform as best as they can. The athletic meet includes three categories of race. There are three individual races --100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters. Participants have to not only be in a good stead but also try to perform their best. So it is expected that nurses remain in the best of health and best in their job as in the race, in the service to the sick patients.
Two hundred nurses from twelve hospitals, namely, Alka Hospital, All Nepal Hospital, Blue Cross Hospital, Kathmandu Hospital, Manmohan Cardio-Vascular & Thoracic Centre, Manmohan Memorial Hospital, Nepal Cancer Hospital, Norvic International Hospital, Om Hospital, Patan Hospital and TU Teaching Hospital) participated in the race in spite of the short notice.
In his youth, Dr. Shrestha played many kinds of sports -- almost to the point of spoiling his studies, career, and life. But with timely advice and help from friends, well-wishers and relatives and then with his own hard work and firm determination, he could come out of it and succeed in his goal.
“I firmly believe that only due to my involvement in sports in my earlier years that endowed me with qualities like discipline, dedication and determination in achieving the objective. I became successful in my occupation as an army officer, in a profession as a doctor and in life as a person,” said Dr.Shrestha.
“ Truly for me, sports was of great importance for my physical fitness and well being, intellectual development and emotional stability,” said Dr. Shrestha.
With his conviction, Dr. Shrestha encourages people from various walks of life to be engaged in sports. Now towards the latter half of his life, he wants to do something for the welfare of sportsmen and promotion of sports as a whole. His motto is basically directed to sportsmen: “Acknowledge Sportsmen, Honor Sportsmen, Assist Sportsmen”.
In his concept, sportsmen and players are classified into two distinct groups as depicted by an iceberg – above the water surface and visible, and below the water surface, submerged and not visible.
Of those visible above the water surface, players at the peak are the serious and recognized and national players; and those just on the surface of water are upcoming and newly establishing and young players, who try and a number of them perform better and better and a few of them ultimately advance towards the peak and ultimately reach the top and become national players.
From his own experience, he feels that the upcoming youngsters, especially if they are talented and performing better and better in games, are the vulnerable group and can be easily carried away too far and be involved in sports at the cost of their study or career. They require being helped and handled intelligently in this period – in both present sports and future career.
DKSF visualizes the different groups with its own specific objectives and priorities for focusing its activities. For this, it is divided into three distinct groups -- broadly shown by the caption chart below.
The heart-shaped area represents people of all age groups, genders and sects and countrywide and should be provided with basic infrastructure like playgrounds, covered courts, etc. for various kinds of sports, encourage them to participate in the sports and promote them through club, tournament, and competition. The objective is to achieve and produce healthy and disciplined citizen through the medium of sports as they get into the habit of playing and also within rules of games and abide by them.
Although he has been busy in his professional career, Dr. Shrestha has firmly stood in favor of promoting sports and sportsmanship in the country. His efforts at the establishment of DKSF is a testimony to his commitment.