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.