Kathmandu, 14 March 2020 –
National Paralympic Committee Nepal (NPCN) receives “absolutely no support” from the government of Nepal, a senior official said Saturday.
Speaking to The Pluralist, NPCN Secretary Biswash Basnet on Saturday said, “Absolutely not. The government does not support Nepal Paralympic Committee in anyway. We manage our affairs through sponsorship and Agitos Foundation, the only charity that works with the International Paralympic Committee to develop para sport worldwide.”
One reason, the sports ministry of the Nepal Communist Party-led federal government, jointly headed by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, does not support NPCN because two Paralympic committees claim official status.
“Perhaps, it could be because of this reason,” Basnet said, and added, “The International Paralympic Committee recognises our committee which settles all controversies.”
Last month on February 4, rival body the Nepal Paralympic Committee unanimously elected its executive committee led by Deepak Koirala at its 23rd general assembly in Kathmandu.
The World Paralympic Games start August 26 and end on September 9 in Tokyo, Japan.
Like all major sports events affected by the pandemic of coronavirus worldwide, Nepal’s preparations as well as the qualifying tournaments ahead of the World Paralympic Games starting in Tokyo in August this year are disrupted, Basnet said.
“The global fears and uncertainty following the outbreak of coronavirus in China has compelled Nepal Paralympic officials to either postpone or shift the qualifying tournaments to other countries.”
The viral outbreak in China two months ago has infected more than 100,000 people globally and killed more than 3000. Coronavirus has affected 80 countries.
Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population last Tuesday issued a travel advisory to its citizens and inward bound tourists that reduced movement. Officials said this precaution would prevent the spread of coronavirus.
According to the advisory, the government has suspended the visa-on-arrival, effective from March 10, to people from China, Korea, Iran, Japan, and Italy. These countries reported high incidence of coronavirus
In January the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus as “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”.
Our taekwondo team of three players will now travel to Jordan for the qualifying round in Amman, he said. “China was host of the qualifying rounds of taekwondo. The authority shifted it to Jordan because of coronavirus outbreak in China.”
Taekwondo will make its debut in Tokyo 2020 with six medal events. Basnet expressed optimism on the prospects of the Nepalese team in this sport based on the steps taken recently to develop this sport.
Last year in August, a team of eight taekwondo athletes — two poomsae, three kyorugi players, and three officials — from Nepal trained at the Miki of Hyogo Prefecture in Japan for training to prepare for the Games in Tokyo.
Taekwondoists Palesha Gobardhan, Dipesh Mahat, Rohit Hang Rai, Bikram Shrestha and Subash Chandra Rai, trained by coach Kabiraj Negi Lama and managed by Roshan Shrestha with team leader Ram Chandra Shrestha benefited from the training in Japan.
The training was part of the deal signed between the Nepal Taekwondo Association and Miki City Metropolitan to help Nepal para-taekwondo players to prepare them for the Games in Tokyo.
Nepal has aggressively chased its vision to promote and support taekwondo. Last year Nepal’s National Taekwondo Academy received official recognition as a regional training centre in Kathmandu. World Taekwondo President Choue presented a certificate of recognition to Nepal Taekwondo Association President Prakash Shumsher Rana.
On Nepal’s prospects in other sports, Basnet said, “We expect our swimmers to perform well in Tokyo. “Ramesh Khatri, who will compete in 100 metres freestyle (S9) event, he is out best bet,” said Basnet. The NPCN appointed him secretary in 2014.
“Nepal will decide its squad after the qualifying tournaments and after we assess our players’ performances,” said Basnet. The Himalayan country’s swimmers gave an inspiring performance at Incheon Games hosted by South Korea.
Nepal will take part in seven disciplines this year – athletics, badminton, judo, table tennis, powerlifting, swimming and taekwondo, he said. Nepal Swimming Paralympic Association President Saroj Shrestha will be the Chef de Mission who will lead Nepal’s squad at Tokyo, he added.