National Games: Opportunity, despite Challenges

The news of National SportsCouncil (NSC) proposing to organize National Games in the first quarter ofcoming year must have brought back butterflies in the abdomen of the numerous athletes.This normally happens, even to the top players; just before they are take on anopponent in a match. Not necessarily a sign of nervousness, but the stress ofapproaching duel. Stress, by itself, is not bad.
Seven months away it is, yet someof the players must already be licking their lips at a chance of another roundof competitions. For if they’re not, they’re not worthy of being the athleteswe would be proud of. An athlete, like a warrior, should welcome anyopportunity of a round of duel.
But for most players in thecountry, the duels – keeping in mind that our players mostly do well inindividual events – are too few and far in between. This is why the NationalGames holds a lot of importance, especially for the players who are not alreadyrepresenting the nation at international competitions. Almost all the players,barring a few who take sport as a hobby, dream of playing for their country atthe top level. And the National Games provide them the stage where they canupstage a present champion; the podium where they announce their coming; theplatform where they humiliate the also-rans.
Moreover, the multi-sportjamboree brings in a lot of fanfare, makes the youngsters dream. Dreams ofpodium finish; Dreams of clinching the honours; Dreams of rising to theoccasion; Dreams of pushing themselves harder…
 One should also mention here that the Gamesare to be held in Far Western region. It should only help develop and nurturesports culture.
And for these reasons, theannouncement or proposal – whatever it might be called as of now – has to belauded.
Having said all these, thechallenges are still many. The proposed Games, which are to be held in the farwestern region, are still not a certainty; it still needs the nod ofministerial cabinet. And in given circumstances, the members of the cabinet arecounting hours of being in power, rather than weeks or months.
The players and sportadministrators must be keeping their fingers crossed. They must be fighting, intheir mind, the possibility of news that the Games are postponed. After all, ithas already been done earlier this year.
And even the government givesits nod, some major challenges remain. That of infrastructure. With just overhalf a year to go, how many grounds – forget stadia or arena – can be built?Even if they are built in a jiffy, what would be the standard ofinfrastructure? National Games is also to prepare players for international competitions.Would it be possible to guarantee that? Rallying 5 regional sport developmentbodies and 72 district bodies to focus on the Games is a tough ask by itself,since it is time consuming. And to top all that is a small matter of: Funds. 30million Rupees has been allocated for infrastructure and you don’t need to be aChartered Accountant to say, “It’s not enough.”
In an interview to yours truly,right after being nominated for the post of Member Secretary of NSW, YubrajLama had spelt out priorities for his tenure. Establishing Sports Collegetopped his agenda, while regularizing multi-sport competitions (like NationalGames) and resolving conflict between sport bodies (like Nepal OlympicCommittee and other associations) also were on his list, as he said.
In the latest announcement ofNSC, initiatives have been taken for these areas, by forming committees andtaskforces, which might even work.
But those, who are not Lamafans, would term these decisions as populist. They could say that thegovernment will change and his days on the hot seat are numbered. He may notget opportunity to implement them, relieving him of the burden.
So the NSC Member Secretary,Yubraj Lama, must have stressful days ahead. To get permission to organizeevent, and that too successfully…
But then, as we earliermentioned – Stress, by itself, is not bad. Let’s see how he lives it.
(PS: The write-up appeared in Yours Truly’s weekly sports column -OFFSIDE – in The Kathmandu Post, on 13th August, 2011)
Disclaimer: The picture shown in the post is courtesy

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