KATHMANDU, July 24: Nepali athletes are all set to compete in the London Olympics that begins from Friday. And the story is not different than their previous participation as there aren´t high hopes from them. The participation is just a ´formality´.
However, Nepali athletes Pramila Rijal and Tilak Ram Tharu, competing in women´s and men´s 100m sprints respectively will be facing a challenge to set new national records in their respective categories.
Both Rijal and Tharu secured berth for the mega event through universal places.
Rijal, the national champion of 100 m, 200 m, 400 m as well as the winner of 4X400m relay will be looking to set a new national record at the Olympics.
"To get chance to participate in the Olympic was a ´dream come true´. My one and only target in the Olympic is to set a new national record in 100 m," said the 27-year old sprinter of Armed Police Force (APF).
Devi Maya Paneru holds the national record in women´s 100 m with the timing of 12.19 seconds set in 1998 in Kathmandu. Rijal, the current national record holder in 400 m has her personal best timing of 12.60 seconds in 100m sprint.
Rijal and Tharu had left for London a month prior to the start of the Olympics for preparation. Both Rijal and Tharu say they expect the month-long training would be helpful for them in improving their timing.
"I have problems in starting block. I hope the month-long training in Kent will be fruitful for me in improving it and setting a new national record," said Rijal.
Rijal´s departmental coach Sushil Narshingh Rana however is not as hopeful as she is. "Rijal´s event is not 100 m and she is good in 400m sprint," said Rana.
Ram Krishna Chaudhary holds the national record in his name set during 1999 South Asian Games in Kathmandu.
Tharu, the champion of 100 m, 200 m, 400 m and 4X400m relay during Sixth National Games has his 100m personal best timing of 10.80 seconds, which he set during Onta Golden Meet earlier this year.
"I had never expected that I would get a chance to compete in the Olympics. I think this is possible due to my hard efforts," said the 20-year old Nepal Police sprinter from Nawalparasi. "I have undergone two months training for the Olympic in Nepal and the training in Kent will be helpful for me in setting new national record. My aim is to set a new national record," said Tharu.
Rijal and Tharu are the other short distance runner to compete in the Olympics after Devi Maya Paneru (Sydney Olympics 2000), Chandra Kala Thapa (Beijing Olympic 2008) and Raghu Raj Onta (Moscow Olympics 1980).
Women´s Record National record: 12.19 second set by Devi Maya Paneru in 1998 SAG World record: 10.49 sec set by Florence Griffith Joyner of USA (1988) Olympic record: 10.62 sec set by Greffith Joyner Florence (Korea, 1988) Rijal´s personal best: 12.60 second set during SAG selection 2009
Men´s Record National Record: 10.71 sec set by Ram Krishna Chaudhary in 1998 SAF World Record: 9.58 sec set by Usain Bolt of Jamaica (Berlin, 2009) Olympic record: 9.69 sec set by Usain Bolt of Jamaica (Beijing, 2008) Tharu´s personal best: 10.80 sec set during Onta Golden Meet 2012