08/06/2012, 00.00
NEPAL

Olympics, Nepal "celebrates" 50 years with no medals

by Kalpit Parajuli
Its athletes have failed all five qualifying events. At home, the young age of the participants and the overly competitive spirit of the Olympics criticized. The memory of the first Olympic delegation in Tokyo 1964, when "what was important was taking part."

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Nepal is celebrating its 50th Olympics with no medals. All five athletes of the delegation were knocked out in qualifying rounds, none made it through to semi-finals or finals. Some local newspapers say that the country has taken the De Cubertain saying "the taking part is important" literally pointing out that the Olympics for athletes is a kind of extended vacation at the expense of the Olympic Committee. Others have criticized the athletes being young and inexperienced in international competitions. For many journalists and experts in sports, excessive pressure and attention on the professional athletes with performances that are on the extremes of human capacity, depressed the young people, already deserving for their participation in the Games. Back at home none of them made statements, focusing only on their own defeat.

Tilak Ram, the promise of local 100 of the 200 meters sprint was excluded from the semi-finals, which could have placed him in the top 20 in his field. He finished 13 th in his race. Ram, has twice won gold medals in national competitions, but on the track in London ran well above his national record.

Pramila Rijal, 27, a young woman sprinter, is among the strongest athletes in South Asia and people hoped in her reaching the finals or in a new national record. Those hopes almost became real with her passage to the semifinals of the 100 meters. The dreams were shattered because of a muscle strain that saw her finish well behind the other athletes.

Praiddha Jung Shah, is the only swimmer to have participated in the delegation to the Beijing 2008Games. On 3 August, he attempted to set a new national record in the race for qualification for the semifinals of the 50 meters freestyle. Although he returned home with nothing. Same situation for Shreya Dhital, 17, young champion with eight medals in the last six editions of the national swimming championships. Sneha Rana 10 meters air rifle champion. Also 17 years old, he had set off from Kathmandu at least dreaming of a placing in the top 20 and improving on his national record. His Games ended with a score of 363 points, five less than his personal record.

To play down and exorcise the defeats, the Nepalese newspapers have emphasized primarily the 50-year presence in Nepal at the Olympics. An extraordinary achievement for a country of 28 million inhabitants, torn apart by a bloody civil war and a situation of grave social, institutional and political crisis. The first participation was in the 1964 Games in Tokyo. At the time Ganga Bahadur Thapa and Bhupendra Silwal competed in the marathon. The first is famous for running barefoot, finishing in seventh place. The figure was remembered and acclaimed at the Opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in London.

 

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