KATHMANDU, July 7: Special athletes, participating in the 17th School Level National Special Games held in Kathmandu on Thursday and Friday, enjoyed the heat of the competition though it was marred by mismanagement.
Joys and moments of pride
Visually impaired Sapana Chaudhary of Mangal Prasad School clinched three gold medals.
Likewise, Santosh Nepal, who studies in class 10 at Kendriya Bahira Higher Secondary School (Central School for Deaf), Kathmandu, clinched two gold medals.
His schoolmate Laxmi Maharjan, physically challenged Kabita Lama of Khagendra Navajeevan School, Jorpati, and Radheshyam Chaudhary, a blind student of Mangal Prasad Higher Secondary School, also claimed two gold medals each.
The medalists were not only happy but were expressing their sense of pride by flaunting their medals during the closing ceremony.
Participants of the competition. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
"I´m surprised that I beat so many participants to win the first position in two events," said Nepal through an interpreter. "The contest was tough," added the boy from Nuwakot.
"I´m good in studies but now I also look forward to a career in sports," said Nepal.
Radheshyam Chaudhary of Patabhar-5, Bardiya said he has been participating in district level games for the last two years and the current success at the national level has given him a boost.
Physically challenged Lama and visually impaired Sapana Chaudhary both attributed their success to their schools.
Despite the enthusiasm shown by the special athletes, mismanagement marred the two-day event.
Deaf and blind special athletes were seen running bare foot. As the persistent rain in Kathmandu made the Dasharath Stadium´s track slippery, the special athletes often fell down during their sprints.
"As the government allocated less budget than the previous years, managing the event proved to be a tough task," said Deepak Koirala, secretary of the tournament organizing committee and the president of Nepal Paralympics recognized by NSC.
The government had allocated Rs 1.2 million for organizing the School Level Special Games this year. A sum of Rs 1.5 million was allocated last year.
Winners pose with medals. (Photo: RSS)
"Though I´m a part of the organizing committee, I have to admit that the event suffered from mismanagement," said Koirala. "NSC Member Secretary Yubaraj Lama has assured us to make the event more effective from next year," he added.
Nepal Blind Welfare Association, Nepal Disable Association and the organizations of deaf community look after the representation of athletes in the national level event.
"These three stakeholders have been bringing in participants haphazardly until now. Unless and until we organize selection tournaments at the district or regional level, we can´t manage the national event properly. NSC should think in this direction," suggested Koirala.
NSC´s Sports Development Department chief Min Sharma accepted that the management should be improved. "Despite the budget crunch we were forced to increase the number of participants this time. To properly manage it and conduct selection tournament, NSC needs more budget for the event," said Sharma.
Chaudhary, Maharjan claim two gold medals
Radheshyam Chaudhary of Mangal Prasad Higher Secondary School, Nepalgunj and Laxmi Maharjan of Kendriya Bahira Higher Secondary School (Central School for Deaf), Kathmandu clinched two gold medals each as the 17th School Level National Special Games concluded in Kathmandu on Friday.
Chaudhary, who suffers from blindness, won gold in boys´ shot put and softball throw while Maharjan clinched gold medals in girls´ 200m sprint and long jump in deaf section.
Raju Kumar Chaudhary of Birat Bahira School, Biratnagar, claimed gold medal in boys´ long jump of deaf section.
Among the visually impaired, Jeewan Tamang of Amar Singh Higher Secondary School, Pokhara, clinched gold in boys´ softball throw while Sapana Chaudhary of Mangal Prasad School remained on the top in the same event of girls. The gold in softball throw was the third won by Chaudhary.
Among the blinds, Saraswati Paneru of Karnali Higher Secondary School won the girls´ softball throw.
Meanwhile, Kabita Lama of Khagendra Navajeewan School, Jorpati clinched 100m dash among the physically challenged girls running without crutches and took her gold medals tally to two. Lalita Tharu of Banke won the gold in 100m sprint of girls´ running with crutches.
Altogether 302 special athletes from 36 schools had participated in the two-day event.