Kathmandu, August 29
Nepali paragliding team bagged historic silver medal in the 18th Asian Games at the Gunung Mas Puncak in West Java, Jakarta, today.
The Nepali team of Bimal Adhikari, Bijay Gautam, Sushil Gurung, Yukesh Gurung and Bishal Thapa finished second in the 10-nation event with a total score of 11,364 points. Nepal missed the gold by just 28 points as Japan took the top spot with a score of 11,391. Hosts Indonesia bagged bronze medal with a score of 10,873.
The silver medal is Nepal’s first in team game and second overall in Asiad. Taekwondo player Sabita Rajbhandari had won silver in 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. In the previous 15 Asiad outings, Nepal had won one silver and 22 bronze medals. In the ongoing Asian Games, Nepal have fielded 185 athletes in 29 sports disciplines but they were made to wait 11 days to get into the medal tally.
In the fifth and final round, three Nepali pilots Bishal Thapa, Bijay Gautam and Yukesh Gurung completed their tasks, while Bimal Adhikari and Sushil Gurung failed to do so. Nepal could have won the gold medal if either Bimal or Sushil had completed their final-round task.
The Nepali team earned 2,797 points in the final round. Bishal Thapa scored 879, while Bijay Gautam earned 858 and Yukesh Gurung accumulated 799. Overnight leader Japan scored 2,057 and narrowly edged past Nepal to finish at the top. Out of the five pilots, the best four scores are added to calculate the team total in each round.
Nepal had opened the debut Asian Games campaign in paragliding with 2,255 points and maintained the third position after the second round scoring 694 points on a day when all pilots failed to complete their tasks due to adverse weather condition. Nepal slipped to the fourth position despite scoring 2,844 in the third round, but bounced back to move two spots up after the fourth round, scoring 2,797 points.
The fifth and final day was marred by bad weather and the organisers were forced to postpone the start of the event. After a delay of couple of hours, the pilots took off to complete their tasks but most of them failed to do so, including two from Nepal.
Nepal skipper Bimal Adhikari was more than happy to win the medal for the country. “This is the biggest achievement of my life,” said Adhikari. “I believe this achievement will help us in developing paragliding as a sport throughout the country,” he added.
Coach Yogesh Bhattarai said, “This is a proud moment for all of us, but there is a tinge of sadness that we missed the gold by a small margin.” “May be we can create history in Olympics too, as Japan and South Korea are our main opponents. We are sure that we can do much better than this in South Asian Games,” he added. In women’s section, Nepal finished sixth in the 10-team table led by South Korea, Japan and Indonesia.
Written by Sureis
This news first appeared on https://thehimalayantimes.com/sports/silver-lining-in-nepals-dismal-asiad/ under the title “Silver lining in Nepal’s dismal Asiad”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.