30 September 2009

Politicizing of NSC

The NSC Board was selected last week along political lines. I find the news quite troubling for the future of Nepali sports as it will see a lack of continuity at the NSC and in the country's sports policy when there is a change in government. It also means that many officials at the NSC might be more politically motivated than sports motivated. The worst part is that players, coaches and administrators could be hired and fired along party lines, which inevitably would see unending posturing between political cadres at every opportunity.

One of the beauties of sports is that generally it is meritocratic. No matter your family background, economic status, education level or physical appearance - if you can kick a ball or are good at teaching someone how to kick a ball, there will be a club looking for your services. The politicizing of sports will undoubtedly destabilize that dynamic and turn sports into yet another battlefield for our political parties to destroy.

27 September 2009

Hat-trick of depressing articles

Slow sports week because of the religious festivities. Here are a few stories from this week which were great reads albeit kind of depressing:

Rohit Rai writes about the poor health of Nepal's first golf course.

The toils of some Nepali boxers are uncovered by Raju Adhikari.

Ayush Khadka exposes why we see less kites in our skies these days.

24 September 2009

My love-hate for the Republica sports section

I am really digging the online Republica sports section. Good selection of stories, timely and lots of photos! Also it is very easy on their website to comment on an article if provoked and to find older stories for geek sports bloggers such as myself.

That is not to say Republica does not have room to improve. They annoyed the heck out of me with some shoddy journalism like their poorly written Anil Gurung article and a recent story where they mentioned that the top Badminton players were not participating in an event but failed to mention exactly why.

21 September 2009

Athletics meet sees records fall

The first phase of SAF Games qualifiers in athletics was held last week. It was an exciting two days of competition in which several national records were broken in the 400 Meters and High Jump. I really wish I had the chance to attend the event.

The Nepal Amateur Athletics Association would be wise start focusing on middle and long distance athletics events. Our geography and physique are perfectly suited to dominate those events. If Morocco, Kenya and Ethiopia can do it, why not us?

20 September 2009

Kabbadi, kabbadi, kabbadi...

Anyone else feel that a great over-the-top comedy film could be made with a Kabbadi tournament as the central theme, kind of like DodgeBall. Well, I might have found just the right script for it!

Turns out that an international Kabbadi tournament in Bhairahawa was not as international as some of the participants had expected. I myself was puzzled when first learning that a Kabbadi tournament in the absolutely nothing-to-do town would feature teams from Argentina, Norway and the USA. Looks like the whole thing was a sham to collect money from registration fees.

19 September 2009

Karate kids in limbo

Our Karatekas are being forced to jump through hoops to attend the 9th AKF Championships in Guangzhou, China. The Nepal contingent are being asked by the Nepal Karatedo Federation to pay their own way once at the event. Also one of the Karatekas was denied a visa because she is Buddhist!

16 September 2009

Time to come back home Anil

So accusations are flying that ANFA did not do enough to help Anil Gurung extend his stay with 6th division English club Woking FC. Honestly, does it really matter? My national pride is certainly not wounded at the prospects of Anil coming back home instead of being an anonymous footballer in London. Actually, it will be good for Nepali football for him to play in a more relevant league in South Asia - hopefully in India if things workout.

Remember Nirajan Rayamajhi? He wasted his prime football years playing for a dinky amateur club in Germany and abandoned a chance to write his name as one of the best Nepali footballers of all time alongside the likes of Ganesh Thapa, Mani Shah and Hari Khadka.

13 September 2009

Both Army and Volleyball Association are wrong

I do not understand Nepal Volleyball Association's stance that volleyball players from the Nepal Army will not eligible for selection to the SAF Games squad because they will not be competing in the ongoing national volleyball league. Unlike in swimming and athletics there is no qualification system for players in volleyball. Either you are good enough for the national team or you are not. Obviously the national volleyball team coaches know who the best players in the country are - regardless of what tournaments they participate in, so shouldn't they simply be able to pick the best players out there?

As for the Army's withdrawal from the volleyball super league because of PLA's participation, to me, it does have merit. Unlike the Armed Police Force in football who were given direct entry into the Martyrs League 'A' Divison, the PLA qualified fair and square for the volleyball super league. No team should have the right to pick and choose who they play against. If Army wants to boycott a team - they should stop playing APF in football.

11 September 2009

Player of the Year Awards winners

There is a good recap (with lots of photos) of the NSJF Pulsar Player of the Year 2065 Awards here. Glad to see non football and cricket sports-persons winning the bulk of the awards.

10 September 2009

Breaststroke mark broken

Tons of sports events going on these days. There are national level tournaments in Swimming, Chess, Volleyball and Badminton among many others. I encourage our readers to click on the newspaper links on the left hand column to get all the details on the events.

Great job by Shailesh Rana in breaking the national men's 50 meter breaststroke mark at a time of 32.82. That time would have grabbed him the 122nd place at the most recent World Aquatics Championships. Keep practicing son.

08 September 2009

Kathmandu Marathon

The Kathmandu Marathon has a very impressive website. They have also created a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Much credit to the organizers for using all the Internet technologies out there. Along with Deepak Bista's website, this is the best Nepali sports website I've come across.

I'd be remiss not to mention my friends at Sodne.com where I first found the link to the event.

07 September 2009

Are we really the best at youth level?

Here is a link to my first article for GoalNepal.com, Bikram Thapa's excellent Nepal football website. The piece addresses whether Nepal is the best at youth football in the South Asian region.

06 September 2009

Too many Jacks, no Aces

The budget and plans for Nepal's participation in the 11th SAF Games have been released. NSC has decided to participate in all the events scheduled for the Games and will divvy up some Rs. 11 Crores between the sports. I know a lot of politics is involved in the planning and budgeting for events like these, but I feel Nepal's sports strategy is totally off and we are producing too many Jacks (actually "deuces" would be a more accurate description) and no Aces.

While every sport has its merits, focusing on a few core sports is the way to go. Create top class athletes in targeted sports and win a few medals and instantly Nepali sports will get the much needed shot in the arm it needs. Nepal's social, economic and geographic particularities ensures that we will always struggle to produce great athletes and results in some sports like swimming, hockey and volleyball. Therefore, let's concentrate on the sports that we can excel at and that can be easily played at schools and in the villages throughout the country - mountains, hills and terai. Certainly the martial arts is the obvious choice. Basketball, football and table tennis are popular school sports. Cricket has potential because of our neighbors. Long distance running suits our topography. I'm sure a case could be made for other sports as well.

I know the NSC Vision 2020 had a similar idea in mind when it went to press, but after seeing that gymnastics was listed as a sport with potential in Nepal, the "Vision" pretty much lost all its credibility. Hopefully our sports administrators will be able to dust themselves off and try again to develop a sound sports strategy that brings glory to the nation and proliferates sports across the country.

05 September 2009

Arniko Skateboards

Some may remember a post I made a few months back about Arniko Skateboards. Here is an interview in the Republica about the Nepali skateboards and its Swiss founder.

The article is quite inspiring and I love seeing stories of people just doing it, instead of moaning 24x7 about all the shortcomings in the country.

04 September 2009

Player of the Year nominees announced

The Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF) released the names of the nominees for the Player of the Year Awards 2065. You can check the names and profiles of the atletes on the NSJF official website.

NSJF have always done a really good job with the Player of the Year Awards. It is a well promoted event with some big time sponsors, the nominees are carefully selected and come from a good mix of sports, and the prizes on offer are very attractive to the athletes.

I went to the NSJF event a few years back and was really impressed with the quality of the production. There was nothing substandard about the event. To me it shows that with a little bit of ingenuity and dedication we can achieve great things in Nepali sports. We just have to believe and be willing to put in the necessary work.

01 September 2009

Eastern cadets impress

I was highly impressed with the twenty four under 12 boys training at the Eastern ANFA Technical Center. The technical ability, confidence and flair with which they played was outstanding.

The encouraging news is that these 24 boys were not even the first choices for ANFA. The best of this year's under 12 batch are training at the Kathmandu Academy with the leftovers going to the two Technical Centers in Butwal and Dharan.

Lots of credit needs to be given to senior ANFA coach Shiva Bhakta Joshi who was in charge of selection. All the boys seem to be there on merit and look to fit the age bar.

While I am technically at odds with the practice of a national under 12 academy, it is still nice to see that the country has some very talented youth players.