KATHMANDU, June 20: Sharad Chandra Shah, who led the ´Golden Age´ of Nepali sports in the 1980s, passed away Wednesday afternoon while undergoing treatment in Singapore. He was 64. Shah is credited for taking Nepali sports to new heights with his visionary plans and relentless efforts.
It was under his initiative that the National Sports Council (NSC) built stadiums and covered halls in different parts of the country -- a feat neither his predecessors nor those after him could achieve.
Shah served as member secretary of NSC from 1977 to 1988 and simultaneously held the position of the president of the Nepal Olympic Committee.
“If you look at the history, that period can be labeled as the Golden Age of Nepali sports,” says Kamal Thapa, who worked closely with Shah for ten years.
“There wasn´t anyone as capable as Shah and neither do I see any possibility of someone of his calibre to lead Nepali sports in the future,” added Thapa, who is the president of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal.
Shah was the one who developed the concept of National Games in Nepal, according to Thapa. It was also Shah who took the initiatives to organize the First South Asian Games.
According to Thapa, late Shah was a hard-working, disciplined and intelligent person. Above all, he was a dedicated person filled with intense feeling of nationalism and was totally committed toward his cause.
“There was a feeling of intense nationalism in the entire Nepali sports of that time and each achievement meant we were adding a feather to the Nepalese cap,” Shah had told Republica in an interview in 2010.
It was under the capable leadership of Shah that Nepal achieved eight bronze medals during the 10th Asian Games held in South Korea in 1986. His achievements overshadows the present day sports leaders who have been struggling to maintain harmony and were able to win just one bronze medal in the recently concluded Asian Games.
“You must realize that nothing is achieved without sacrifice and vision. Sacrifice means sacrificing your petty interests and vision means ability to see the big picture. Sadly, there seems to be lack of both in the present sports leadership,” Shah had told Republica.
Shah turned philosophical when asked if he felt the present leaders had ruined all that he had once achieved. He said, “Even the shadow of what once was great is passing away, as Shakespeare said. Why only blame the present leadership?”
Shah was suffering from stomach infection and passed away at Singapore General Hospital at 3:30 pm (NST), according to a source at Singapore.
He is survived by a wife, one son and two daughters.