Where are the youngsters?

Less than a fortnight ago, Pashupati Paneru reclaimed the men’s singles title at the Krishna Mohan Memorial Badminton Championship. The title got him richer by half a hundred thousand rupees, which is not bad for a singles event in Nepal.
But that’s not the point. The point is, that Pashupati Paneru was a lost face in Nepali sports for a while. The point is, that Pashupati Paneru had gone to USA, looking for greener pastures. The point is, that Pashupati Paneru is back. The point is, that Pashupati Paneru is back with a bang.
Even greater point is that the shuttler in question here remained out of competitive badminton for 3 years and came back to win a national level championship without much competition. (He won the final in straight sets)
Now that does not speak well for our sports sector.
Paneru is not the first national level sportsman that took a trip to a foreign land, in search of better life. Nor will he be the last one. For, sportsmen, like us, are human beings. Apart from professional success, like us, they want a better life. A life where they don’t have to stay awake overnight for water supply… A life where they don’t have to wait for electricity for hours on end, just to be able to watch TV…
Paneru might have his personal reasons for opting out – along with him we’d lost two other badminton players. But when he came back, he was not younger than before. For any player in mid-30s, it’s not easy to make a comeback (Remember, Nepali sportsmen hide their age by at least a couple of years). Of course, there are some super human players who shine well past the age others hang up their boots. But we can’t forget that for every Sachin Tendulkar that amazes analysts, there are Suresh Rainas and Keiron Pollards, who nudge the podium for others to step aside. Yes, there are stalwarts in every game. But there are budding stars too. And Pashupati Paneru is no superman, although he’s a fine talent, even maybe among the best that we’ve had.
The sad thing is, the apparent dearth of talent can be seen in other sports too. Tashi Tsering, the Manang Marshyangdi star, was named the best player in recently concluded British Gorkha Cup football. Tashi is hardly a newcomer. He’s on the other side of mid-30s (he doesn’t even lie about it), and possibly holds less prospect of playing for Nepal than a rookie who’s just entered his club and is in 20s.
Both the cases create a noise that some of us might choose to ignore. Paneru’s win and Tashi’s achievement demand celebration, but they also serve us a notice. A notice that we’re not witnessing the budding heroes. A notice that those who will push the game forward, the youngsters, are not visible. And they should also serve as a warning: Is our talent pool is drying up?
Hats off, to both the stalwarts for proving their mettle. Their love for their games show that hard work pays. And also brings success. But it also raises a question: Where is the competition?
This is one question our sports authorities should ignore at their own peril. What will they do, if the talent pool dries up? What will they manage?
Over the years, a lot has been said on building sports academies and sustaining sports. But sadly, this has not been happening. The sparse crowd at most major competitions, barring a few, shows that we don’t have much youngsters taking up to sports. The dwindling fan base should be a cause of worry, for the fan base ensures the competitors take up to the arena, with a dream to light it up.

While lauding the success of Pashupati Paneru and Tashi Tsering, we should also try to think, who would we applaud, 5 years from now?

2 thoughts on “Where are the youngsters?

  1. this is very sad part for nepali sports. As we all know that youngsters these days are not taking sports very seriously because they would already know there is no secure future in sports.that is why they divert in into the other sector. governtment of nepal has invested a lot of money in sports sector but the people who rule the sports sector are very rapacious for money. they only think for making money and enjoying junket trip in oversea. this is another bitter truth of nepali sports.every year government allocated sufficent budget for sports as best of my knowledge. but we have to understand that who is responsible and authentic organization for sports in nepal.there are two sports governing body in nepal. one is national sports council and other one nepal olympic committee. they have been feuding for the long time for their superimacey.sports council is under the command of government but nepal olympic commitee is associated with international olympic committee. and in the internatinal tournament we have to go through olympic committee.many times as i know when big tournament like asain games,south asain games and olympic games they feud each other for their superimecy.
    as a super lover i would like to suggest for all up coming athelet that u should carry onur stdy along with ur sports career. u peole(athelet) better know that there is no evaluation of athelet.thanx to the security force that they have given a job ot the national players.90% of the national players belong from security forces. other wise sports in nepal might have like search for a water in desert. so before you enroll n enrich urself in sports u hv to carry on study at any cost. sports itself not a bad profession but in ground reality of our nation that neither we have a big industries nor we don have big private sector. if u r a good players wid good edaucation background it would definately help you for securing ur bright n sheen future. that is main thing why the youngester not taking sports very seriously.i m preety much sure that after five to ten years it would be horrible situation in nepali sports section.

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