1st National Para Games unveils promising athletes


Kathmandu, July 8: Nepali para-athletes can win many international medals for the country. It is what stakeholders stressed after seeing promise from hundreds of athletes participating in the first-ever national-level Para and Special Sports that concluded in Kathmandu on Sunday.   

Organised by the National Sports Council (NSC) in coordination with the respective sports association, para-athletes competed in a dozen different para and special sports starting from July 1 through weightlifting.

Alongside weightlifting, para-athletes competed in athletics, wheelchair basketball, cricket, cycling, amputee football, blind goalball, judo, sound table tennis, para table tennis and swimming. 

Four national records were set in the weightlifting where 42 athletes from six provinces (except Madhes) competed for the gold medal in nine categories (six male and three female). 

Bagging the gold medal, Bagmati’s Ashish Manandhar bettered his own record in men’s 72kg as he lifted 145-kg; earlier, he had a record of lifting 130-kg. Bagmati’s Thakur Shrestha also bettered his record after he lifted 100-kg to bag the gold medal in men’s 54kg category; his earlier record was 90-kg. Bagmati’s Dipak Khadka set a national record by lifting 101-kg in men’s 65kg category. 

Likewise, Sudurpashchim’s Suresh Bista lifted 86-kg to set a new national record in men’s 59kg category by breaking the record of 85-kg by Dipak Timalsina. 

On the other hand, Koshi’s para-athletes dominated in women’s weightlifting. Koshi’s Sarita Thulung and Anukala Rai bagged the gold in women’s +67kg and -67kg categories respectively. However, Lumbini’s Huma Magar won the gold in -50kg category.

Chandrama Thapa Chhetri won two gold medals by finishing first in women’s short stature 100m and 200m race. Khursed Mansoor and Lal Bahadur Khatri were the gold medallists in the 100m and 200m race respectively in the men’s short stature category.

Para-athletes also competed for gold medals in wheelchair, half-blind, crutches and intellectual impairment races. As per the organisers, 80 para-athletes competed for 20 gold medals in athletics.

Regarding swimming, Akal Tamang and Jenisha Kadayat won a gold medal each in wheelchair 25m freestyle in the men’s and women’s categories respectively. In the two other events of swimming, Harkaman Gharti Magar and Dr. Samana Gaire won gold medals in standing 25m freestyle in men’s and women’s categories respectively.

Moreover, Sudurpashchim Province bagged the gold medal in goalball after defeating Sano Thimi Club by 24-5. 

Lokraj Shahi and Sagar Dhakal were the gold medallists in para cycling in the open (men and women) 3.5km race in amputee and short stature categories respectively. 

Digam Singh Chemjong and Lali Tamang were the winners in para table tennis in the men’s and women’s categories (wheelchair) respectively while Bibek Rai and Puja Soti were victorious in the men’s and women’s categories (standing) respectively. 

In the context of judo, it was organised in different weight categories for deaf and blind practitioner. According to organisers, 34 deaf judo practitioners competed for 10 gold medals and 18 blind practitioners competed for five gold medals.

Similarly, Sagarmatha won the gold medal in amputee football after defeating Tribhuwan Army Club in tie-breaker (5-3). Nevertheless, Nepal APF Club and Sudurpashchim were victorious in wheelchair basketball in men’s and women’s categories respectively.

“With the conclusion of cricket and sound table tennis (for blind) on Sunday, the tournament has concluded. We planned 13 events but one has now been cancelled after the deaf association could not organise their event,” said Pema Dolma Lama, coordinator of the Para and Special Games. 

Potential para-athletes

Nepal has been participating in Paralympics from Athens in 2004. Currently, three Nepali para-athletes – taekwondo’s Palesha Goverdhan and Bharat Singh Mahata and swimmer Bhim Bahadur Kumal – are taking part in the Paris 2024 Paralympics (August 28-September 8). 

“It was raining during the tournament. We had to organise amputee football in futsal of the National Sports Centre after Chyasal Stadium was inundated on Saturday. The cricket match was also almost affected in Mulpani. However, everything went well at the end,” said Lama.

Lama, who also leads ANFA Women’s Association, informed, “I have been part of several tournaments, but it was my first time organising a tournament for para and special athletes. Their motivation and promise proved why they are called ‘special’.”

Recalling the performance of gold medallist Sudurpashchim in women’s wheelchair basketball, Lama said, “I was amazed to see Sudurpashchim’s women’s performance in wheelchair basketball as they used quality skills and technicalities.”

“Hundreds of athletes who participated showed potential. We must organise similar tournaments regularly to provide platform for more para and special athletes scattered throughout the country,” said Lama.

According to the NSC, they plan to induct para games in the 10th National Games in Surkhet. “The Council has not yet decided on the games to be organised in Surkhet. It might be decided by the next board meeting soon,” said Khusharaj Dahal, NSC’s information officer.

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