Current priorities of sports: Hosting SAG, winning medals
The 13th edition of the South Asian Games (SAG) is scheduled to be held in Nepal from December 1 to 10, 2019. The sports authorities are working overtime as hosts to brace for the big regional event, which will feature 27 games.
Dashrath Stadium is under reconstruction, with roof and chairs ordered, and lights and sounds installed for the stadium.
The timely hosting of the SAG will be a huge opportunity for Nepali players to improve their career prospects and quality performance.
In that backdrop, Ramesh Kumar Silwal, Member Secretary of National Sports Council (NSC) and Olympian and four times SAG gold winner Deepak Bista shared their views about the regional sporting fiest a with sports journalists of this daily at the weekly dialogue series, Gorkhapatra Sambad, held at the Gorkhapatra Corporation hall.
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My main focus at present is to make preparations to hold the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) in December this year. The 13th edition is the much-awaited big regional event scheduled to be held in Nepal from December 1 to 10, 2019. Earlier, the event was slated to be held from 9 to 18 March 2019. Nepal rescheduled it four times.
The 13th edition of the big regional sporting event is directly related with national prestige.
The event will be held in different venues in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
The major task for me is to complete the reconstruction of Nepal’s main stadium, Dashrath Stadium, for SAG, which is under reconstruction right now and I have ordered all the related people to hand over the stadium within the 1st of November.
The main gate of the stadium will be built in Nepali traditional way to attract foreigners.
We have already ordered roof for the Dashrath Stadium and chairs for the VIPs and normal parapet. We have installed the lights and sound system in the stadium.
The natural ground of the stadium has been ready and we have started pitch construction, which was supposed to come in operation from 18th July, but we could not do it due some technical problems.
The Chinese team has inspected the ground recently. We will operate the pitch soon after both sides agree on the pitch issues in our Monday meeting.
We have faced a challenge of Satdobato International Swimming Pool regarding the installation of the heating system but we are also heading to solve the programme and they will shortly install the heating system in the Satdobato International Swimming Pool ahead of SAG.
I visited Pokhara Stadium on the fourth day of my appointment.
I have suggested Pokhareli authorities for the construction of the Pokhara Stadium as a natural stadium. The weather of Pokhara is perfect for sporting activities.
Now, we have no problem of infrastructure and I recently held meetings with 27 sports associations in the capital.
SAG will feature 27 sports, paragliding will be making a debut and cricket will make a comeback after 8 years in the South Asian Games.
As a host nation, Nepal has added karate and golf in this edition of the SAG.
And I have held meetings with the chief coaches, coaches, association presidents and general secretaries.
Close-camp training for our players started and most of the games have close-camp training starting today, that is, Sunday.
I have divided all sports in two different ways, one is result oriented and another is non-result oriented. I never believe all are equal. I am investing more in the result oriented games.
If the players of the result oriented disciplines need training abroad, I will send our players for the training or I will invite foreign coaches here for the training.
But I will provide good training to result oriented games here.
After the SAG, we have to prepare for the 9th National Games, which is scheduled to be held in Pokhara. I have challenges to develop infrastructure to all the areas of the nations. Pokhara will host seven games of the SAG.
I want to connect all the citizens of Nepal with Nepali sports.
I have to change many things in the National Sports Council, such as administrators, transform financial department and establish new system in the sports fraternity.
A total 156 sports associations have been affiliated in the Nepali sport’s governing body, National Sports Council.
After my arrival in the NSC, I have stopped ten associations from participating in the international tournaments for their inactive roles.
They are coming to my office for recommendation in their visa process but I deny them recommendation. Many association officials engage in unethical activities. I will give approval to all the active associations but not to inactive associations.
I have recently held discussions with 50 associations about the development of Nepali sports.
The 27 games of the SAG will be given the first priority by me as the member secretary of the council.
I will shortly divide all the games in three different categories-medal oriented, result-oriented and popular games. I have already met players and officials of the medal oriented games and I have ordered them to bring me their planning in a written form.
I will dissolve and scrap all the inactive associations by furnishing good reasons.
I have asked all the 27 associations to show me their sports kits, which is needed for them during the training.
I have already ordered 188 mats for the karate players as per their demand.
I am responsible for continuing the legacy of council but I am not responsible for individual’s activities.
Nepal used to be the powerhouse in the martial arts events in 1999 but India has become new powerhouse in these events.
I got so busy soon after my appointment as I had meal for only two days on my 11 days of my appointment. I am working for NSC till 02 PM. I started my duties in full phase in a system and I have to establish good system in NSC. All players, coaches and NSC main officials have co-operated with me for SAG.
I do not believe in tall talk. I only believe in the hard work and it will pay off one day.
I have provided the cash prizes to all the gold medalists and record holders within same fiscal year.
I will work hard to enhance the national dignity by hosting 13th SAG in home.
I have just four months to host SAG and as a member secretary it will be a tough duty for me but I am enjoying it.
I will use resources and manpower to host SAG and it will be a challenging duty for me.
Regarding cricket, we have many infrastructure installations for cricket in the nation but we don’t have world class stadium right now.
Now, we have been facing challenges in constructing a world class stadium, though we have two facilities, Mulpani Cricket Stadium, Kathmandu and Tribhuvan University Stadium, Kritipur.
I will visit Mulpani and T.U Cricket Ground in the coming days with related persons.
The track of Mulpani Cricket Stadium is dead and I am trying to call the best curator from abroad for laying down world class pitch. The condition of the soil of Mulpani is poor and we will bring soil from Pokhara to Mulpani to lay down standard wicket.
The wicket of Pokhara is one of the best in the nation.
Nepal Government had already allocated Rs. 50 million for the construction of cricket ground.
I am under pressure to monitor the structure built by National Sports Council in different states of the nation.
There is a lack of co-ordination between NSC officials, associations, players and coaches in the Nepali sports sector.
But I will break the rule and I will separately meet all the sports persons for the development of the Nepalese sports.
Too many structures have been built in the nation but we could not protect all of them.
We will develop a sporting culture and environment in our nation and we will also be providing good sporting culture and environment to our athletes.
I am also planning to increase audience presence in the stadium in all kinds of games. It will be a major factor for enhancing sporting culture.
We will be promoting the games that are needed to be promoted through televisions, newspapers, radio, online portals, and hoarding boards etc.
We will create teams for such promotion, which is needed for the sporting culture development in the nation.
I have requested all the associations to provide a balanced diet and nutrition to their players, which will be costly but I will support them for good job.
I have a policy to resolve issues related to the suspension of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) from International Cricket Council (ICC).
Nepali cricket is on a good track from the time I was the vice-president of the CAN. I will do the best to resolve the cricket crises.
Racing against time to host SAG : Bista
Only four months have been left for organising the biggest sporting event of South Asia. It would be a huge challenge for the newly appointment Member Secretary, Ramesh Kumar Silwal.
In 1999 SAG, we had started the preparations much ahead of the event. The SAG organisation is connected with national pride and we players and coaches should play to keep our national pride intact.
We had travelled to Korea for the preparations of the SAG in 1999. All the players needed enough match exposure for the international level competition. In 1999, we were the powerhouse of taekwondo and other forms of martial arts, but right now we are very poor in the taekwondo.
We are expecting more medals from martial art events including taekwondo, karate, wushu, boxing, football and etc.
But nowadays India is stronger than us, as a player, I would be to glad in hosting South Asian Games on time.
The South Asian Games is a mini Olympic games for us and it will be a milestone for players to help make their career and it would help our players appear in the bigger sporting event.
The timely hosting of the SAG will be a huge opportunity for improving our players’ career and quality.
If the reconstruction of the Dashrath Stadium completes within time, then we will have enough venues, including Pokhara and capital, for hosting SAG games.
The winning of medals is a main aim for us, if we win several medals in the regional games, we will be regarded as successful.
We have to focus on medal oriented games and invest more on them for winning more medals as hosts to the regional games.
The government and sports governing body have to focus on medal winning games.
We have to develop sporting culture in the nation first. I feel the need of such culture in the nation whenever I travel to different nations with players and coaches.
First of all we should start such culture from the National Sports Council. Most of the NSC officials are found to lack discipline.
While I am playing for the nation, I am only just concerned with my own game and national duties. Nowadays, many of our players are more ambitious and they are always eyeing opportunities rather than engaging in enhancing the national prestige by winning medals or performing better in their disciplines. Every time, they appear to be seeking opportunity to go abroad at the cost of the nation’s dignity and pride.
We have our own mission- the mission to develop sports and sporting culture in the nation. I think this will be achieved one day.
I think our players can achieve milestones if they are provided with good training, facilities and all other amenities required. The sports authority in the country should think of promoting players by any means, only then can the country win international laurels.
(Prepared by Narayan Upadhyay and Anjan Khadka. Photographs by Rajendra Chitrakar)