“Our sporting history has been linked from times of the Malla dynasty. From that time till now, sports in Nepal is still just a way of entertainment”
The sports industry worldwide has been estimated to be worth between $480- 620 billion. While many Nepalese also have some contribution in the total, what is the actual scenario of sports in our country; where is the level of sports in Nepal?
Even when writing this post there was very few information to be found on Nepal’s sports sector, its current statistics and future potential. Till date, there is no any significant achievement in major competitions and the only success stories we see are made through purely personal effort.
Putting aside these words of not-so-much motivation we at least have success stories. Recently young athletes Gaurika Singh (swimming), Bimal Gharti Magar (football), Sandeep Lamichhane (cricket), Phupu Lhamu Khatri (Judo) and Nima Gharti Magar (wushu) have made headlines through their international performances. These athletes are inspiring newer generation towards the sports but this will continue only if they make appearances for the nation in coming days. Not only the youngsters, some Nepalese football favorites along with cricketers have also played for foreign leagues and teams adding spark for the newbies in this area.
Going through popularity, the most popular sports in Nepal is football followed by cricket which is in the same alignment with the globe. Our sporting history has been linked from times of the Malla dynasty. From that time to the current Nepal, sports is still just a way of entertainment. Since few years football and Cricket is getting recognized as a career path. Players are taking sports for future career paths and the process is going rapidly. Examples like Paras Khadka and Anil Gurung have proved that athletes are also being put up as role models and social icons by the people. They have been inspiring the young ones.
While we talk about these two sports; cricket and football, we cannot miss out the others which are and have always been loved by the enthusiasts. Tennis, swimming, Golf and Basketball have their equal places in the Nepalese sports scene. Moreover, contact games like judo, Taekwondo, Karate and boxing have always been dependable for bagging medals in the international arenas.
Many domestic leagues and tournaments are being organized by the day. From national level to regional and district, these tournaments are being organized even for the non-athletes. The Ncell Corporate Beach Cricket is a successful example of this. Red Bull Futsal League, on the other hand has hyped up the market with is 10 lakh prize money. Similarly, different companies and groups have now started building their own clubs and teams to compete in national leagues.
The communique of budget by the Nepal Government Finance Minister for Fiscal year 2067/68, Nepal Government set aside a modest budget of Nrs. 627 million. Hence, Nepali sportsmen fully asserted their will, however most failed to realise that one standard stadium will live up to Nrs. 700 million thereby exceeding the costs dedicated to a whole year.
Nepali athletes also are presented with an average salary of around Nrs.15, 000 a month with the respected players getting upto Nrs. 50,000, which raises questions regarding the lifestyle of an athlete. Secondly, no scope whatsoever is present for the retired players, with no provision of health insurances and other post- retirement benefits.
This progressing but lingering situation of sports should leapfrog in order to compete with the international level. There have been many practices to develop sports in Nepal. Many sports clubs, groups and associations have formed. But they are always surrounded by controversies. In a developing country like this, sports is definitely not immune to corruption.
Last but not the least I want to have some honorable mentions, which are taking the sports in Nepal to new untapped areas of possibilities.
- Adventure Sports
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