Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nepal set SA Games date.

Dec 4, 2016- With the country’s sports infrastructure in shambles, Nepal has announced March 9-18, 2019 date for the 13th South Asian Games, the biggest sporting event that it has hosted twice before.
A South Asian Olympic Council (SAOC) meeting at the Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) decided to host the regional sports that will be contested by athletes from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Afghanistan, who previously contested in the Games, has already opted to leave the region.
The SAOC decision leaves the country with a question whether or not it will be ready to fix the infrastructure damaged by the April 25 earthquake in 2015. The most affected part has been the country’s only international standard Dasharath Stadium which is expected to take another three years, even if it is to be renovated.
However, NOC President Jeevan Ram Shrestha was confident Nepal would be able to win the race against the time. “The government has already endorsed our proposal and has allocated budget for the Games. A monitoring and instruction committee has been formed under the prime minister and a preparation committee headed by the sports minister is also working accordingly to successfully organise the regional games,” said Shrestha.
Youth and Sports Minister Daljit Sripali said the government will be committed to hold the Games according to the announced schedule. “This is not just an opportunity but a matter of pride for all Nepalis. We are committed to hold the Games in time and I want to assure that the government has kept the Games in priority list,” said Sripali.
The 13th edition of the Games will have 22 to 25 sports discipline with the host nation allowed to propose two disciplines. The categories of the sports disciplines will be decided in due course. The SAOC meeting was attended by representatives of National Olympic Committees Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
India have been a dominant force in the regional sports having claimed top spot in all previous 12 editions. Nepal’s best performance in the SA Games was in 1999 when the hosts went on to clinch 31 gold medals to finish second in the table.
They claimed just three gold medals in the previous edition held in Guwahati and Shillong. India have so far won 1088 gold, three more than their closest contenders Pakistan, in the Games that was initiated and hosted by Nepal in 1984. 
Saturday’s meeting also nominated Shrestha and NOC General Secretary Lama Tendi Sherpa as the president and general secretary of the SAOC respectively. The meeting also decided to set up SAOC headquarters in Nepal.
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