President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will declare open 13th South Asian Games at the Dashrath Stadium today with three-hour program showcasing the rich culture and diversity of Nepal.
This is third time Nepal is hosting South Asian Games. Nepal hosted the first regional game in Nepal in 1984 followed by the second time in 1999.
Nepal is hosting SAG for the third time from December 1 to 10 in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Janakpur. Organizers said that 8,000 artistes and performers will light up the stadium in the opening ceremony, which will begin with a three-minute laser light presentation on the 13th SA Games.
The Himalayan Times Daily reports that more than 5,000 delegates, including 2,715 athletes, are participating in the regional meet that features 26 sports disciplines. Nepal is fielding the highest number of athletes — 596 — in all 26 sports disciplines. According to the Technical Committee, the SA Games powerhouse, India, has sent 487 athletes in 22 disciplines, while Sri Lanka has entered 564 athletes in 26 disciplines. Likewise, Bangladesh has sent 470 athletes in 25 disciplines, while Pakistan has registered 263 athletes in 18 sports. Bhutan (116) and Maldives (216) are taking part in 18 and 12 disciplines respectively.
According to Deshsanchar, the Games will offer a total of 1,115 medals — 317 gold, 317 silver and 481 bronze — with swimming being at the top with 38 gold medals. Athletics is offering 36 gold medals, while taekwondo is offering 29. Out of the 27 sports disciplines included in the SA Games, paragliding was cancelled after the sport failed to get minimum of three teams.
Photo courtesy To goalnepal.com