The SAG Saga
by SURESH RAJ NEUPANE IN DHAKA, BANGLADESH
After much drama, almost singing the old anthem, holding the flag upside down, tussles with the referee, elevator mishaps and in between all of that, excellent performances, the 11th SAG that started in Bangladesh in 28 January finally wrapped up two weeks later.
Onlookers watch the match from outside Bangabandhu stadium.
Nepal, struggling in sixth position until the final day, buckled up last minute and landed fifth, with a total of 37 medals, 8 gold, 9 silver and 20 bronze. Seven of the gold were for martial arts: karate, wushu and taekwondo, which has proven to be Nepal's strength since the 8th SAG games in Kathmandu.
ALL IMAGES: SURESH RAJ NEUPANE
Several flags were hanging upside-down at the handball event.
Taekwondo champion, Deepak Bista, gold medalist for three consecutive SAGs scored his fourth one this time. But the road to victory hadn't been easy for him. The injury in his legs had considerably dampened his confidence, but he says of his fortune, "I toiled like a dog for this and the hard work paid off. I hope this comes as an inspiring win for all who want to follow my footsteps".
For marathon premier, Rajendra Bhandari it has been an even tougher ride. After having the two medals he 'won' in the 10th SAG snatched off him, following the use of performance enhancing substance, he had been suspended from the tracks for two years. This time's win helped him reclaim the name he had lost, says Bhandari "I've managed to redeem myself."
But it was the Nepali girls' football team who gave the most astounding performances. The team that had received no training of international standards defeated Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka by 1-0, 7-0 and 8-0 respectively. A much contended coach, Dhruba KC says of the girls, "In spite of only two months of training, the girls have managed to raise great expectations for the future of girls' football in Nepal."
The star players were Niru Thapa, Jamuna Rai, Anu Lama and Pramila Rai. However, the enormous fortune spent on the boys' team just didn't pay off. With only one consolation prize won against Bhutan, their performance was not only disappointing but embarrassing too, considering the bad sportsmanship they displayed, striking the referee.
All in all, there were more letdowns than there were victories, with swimmers, Karishma Karki, Nayana Shakya, Shailesh Rana and Shaila Rana falling way behind in the competition. Most disappointing was the loss in weight lifting, in which Nepal had never come back without an award in the history of SAG. The same fate was of our hockey players who lost by 79 goals, even more pitiful to last time's 54. Other areas of disappointment were in shooting, cycling and squash. So out of 278 in the team, 113 Nepalis came back empty handed.
Taekwondo champion, Deepak Bista, shows off his gold.
The main cause of this impasse is perhaps the change in grounds, playing in inferior infrastructure to competing in a big arena, but there were also major drawbacks in the management and organisation of the event itself. For instance the track for the marathon happened to be 38.595km when the international standard is 42.195km. Other disturbances were from people strolling in and out of the tracks as the games were going on and construction work being done even after the games began.
Nepli girls' football team celebrating after defeating Sri Lanka by 8-0.
Ang Babu Lama Yolmo is one of Nepal's imminent wushu players. Inspired by national wushu phenomena, Rati Lama, he started his practice twelve years back, as soon as he got his SLC exam out of the way. Says Ang, "What attracted me to the game is the combination of fighting, craftsmanship, sword-fighting and gymnastics that makes up this art." His latest achievement is the gold medal he received in the 11th SAG in Dhaka, receiving 19 on 20 in Tai-chi Husan Thaulo that comes under Wushu. His trainer Pranildhwaj says of the victory, "Even better training will surely land him in the Asian level and win us an award."
Lama who has never come out of a competition empty handed, has the following awards to show for his talent:
Gold medal – 2nd Tai-chi Chun competition, Taiwan, 2008
Gold medal – 2nd South Asian Wushu competition, 2008
1 Silver, 2 bronze – World Games, Taiwan, 2009
One gold medal – National Games, 2009
1. shasanka shrestha, Charleston,WV
Hats off to Deepak dai, Rajendra bhandari n the women's football team!!! Binod dai from karate is the unsung hero!!..training his heart out...loosing almost 14 kgs in 2 months to make it on the team,missing out the closed camp right before the selections for his baby girl...He did it against all odds!!!
08 MARCH 2010 | 9:19 PM NST |
2. rala, plumstead, london
do your best people.
you made us eally proud.
12 APRIL 2010 | 8:09 PM NST |