The Squash Factory

Hira Bahadur Thapa has been defeated. The single person dominance in squash, for two decades, has ended. Depending upon whether you like the sport or not, you could take it negatively or positively.

And his nemesis this time, taking away the title of national champion, was his own son, his protégé, Amrit Thapa. Amrit won the NSRA National Squash Championship  beating his father 3-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-7. The coach – the bronze medalist from 9th South Asian Games – fell to the power of his student, his understudy. Hira might have lost a bit of shine himself, but title remains in the family.

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Nepali Cricket’s Fiscal Fitness

A fortnight plus ago, a notice appeared on the sports page of a national daily, from Cricket Association of Nepal. The national cricket body had demanded the people and some organizations that have not cleared the advance payment taken from its coffers, to cough up the money or to clear their account.

It carried a warning that the legal route would be taken, if the accounts were not cleared by these people and organizations, within a fortnight. A fortnight has already passed and not many – apart from a few – showed intent to clear the due.

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The India Jinx

Bal Gopal Maharjan has face that is hard to read, even for keen face readers. For he looks a toughened cookie, with gritty looks and hardly any trace of emotion showing on face. Yet, he was visibly emotional when he said, “I want to apologize to all Nepali football fans…”

The occasion was SAFF U-16 Championship, and the moment was conclusion of the last match. Nepal had finished runners-up, beaten by India (yet again) in the title match. It was an emotional moment, for Indian lads had not drubbed the home team. The players from home were not humiliated. They edged past Nepali Colts by a small margin of 1 goal, a solitary goal.

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Is Time Running Out?

Recently, former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh was presented with Team Nepal Jersey, in London. Apparently, Waugh was pleased to receive the jersey and keen to learn about cricket development in Nepal.

The team Nepal jersey was presented by a group of Nepalis, including Gagan Thapa. Yes, you guessed it right: Gagan Thapa, the politician. While those who have been following cricket need no introduction for Steve Waugh, many would not know the interest Gagan Thapa has in cricket. Steve Waugh has been known for his fighting style of cricket and a ruthlessly efficient captain of Cricket Australia. He has been one of known names lobbying for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics.

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माडिबा म्याजिक

सम्भवतः नेल्सन मण्डेलाको यो साता आउने जन्मदिन (‌१८ जुलाइ) दक्षिण अफ्रिकाले मात्र होइन, विश्वले नै मनाउने छ । सम्भवतः समर्थक र पूर्वविरोधीहरुले एक समान रुपमा प्रसंशा गरिने नेतामा अहिलेको विश्वमा मण्डेलामात्र होलान ।

धेरैलाइ स्वीकार्न वा भन्न गार्हो होला, तर सम्भवतः उनको ९६ औं जन्मदिन, जुन आगामी वर्षपर्छ, मनाउन उनी रहने छैनन् । रंगभेद विरुद्धको लडाइ र सफलताका लागि मण्डेलालाइ सम्पूर्ण विश्वले नै दशकौंसम्म विर्सन नसक्ला । तर केहिले उनलाइ सम्झनेछन् उनको खेलप्रेमका लागि । वा अझ भनौं खेलको प्रयोग गरेर राष्ट्र जोड्ने प्रयासका लागि ।

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Happy to be Blind!

If somebody says, “I am happy to be blind”, how would you react? If somebody says, “You wouldn’t have been talking to me, if I was not blind”, what would be your answer?

It is very tough to find a suitable answer to these lines. Thankfully, you rarely come across such questions if you write on sports. But sometimes you do. And that’s exactly when you’re stumped. You run out of ideas, as goosebumps start appearing on your skin. Mind you, this is a sports column and we’re talking about a sportsperson.

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Celebrating the Award

Two years ago, almost to the day, two people known to have worked tirelessly for football development in the Eastern Nepal – Dilip Rai and Bhagirath Ale – were receiving award at the hands of actor duo Madan Krishna Shrestha and Hari Bansa Acharya.

Just when Dilip Rai reached both the donors, he tried touching their feet à la Bollywood award shows, as a mark of respect. But before Rai could do that, Madan Krishna fell to their feet. A scene not seen very easily in the country. Now, nobody would question stature and integrity of these two gentlemen giving away the awards. Nobody would either think that Madan Krishna was mocking the two men who’ve given so much to the football, at least in the Eastern region. Nobody in the region, who’s touched the ball, is unaware of these names.

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Thank You, Good ol’ Doc!

Nepali women’s team skipper Jamuna Gurung has been relieved of a pain in her left knee. The pain that she had been enduring for past eight months, as she picked up an injury while playing for Nepali team against Sikkim, last November. She had to leave field within ten minutes of play.

As the football fans celebrate her successful surgery and pray that she will be back in the sport that she’s been playing since 1999 (for the national team), they should also take some time to thank the person who made it possible. The person: A Good ol’ Doctor: Doctor Chakra Raj Pandey.

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Two Episodes: Two Years

Yubaraj Lama has completed two years in the hot seat, that of Member Secretary at the National Sports Council. That’s a pretty long time, if you take into account the transition Nepal seems to be in. That’s a pretty long time, if you know that Lama has worked with 3 Prime Ministers – Chairman of the Ministerial Council means exactly the same as a PM – and 6 Sports Ministers during his tenure.

Labeling his term as a success or failure would depend on what did you expect, at the start of his tenure. Yours truly had asked him, right when he assumed the post, why was he back in sports after almost a two decade hiatus. And he had said that he was selected on the basis of his working plan presented to party leadership. Yes, it would only be fair to remember that he was chosen to head the most powerful authority in Nepali Sports by the political party that was in power then. No need to name the party.

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Cricket World Cup format: ICC against Minnows?

When Ireland was playing England in the Cricket World Cup 2011, little did anybody know – until Ireland started batting – that we were in for a surprise. England had put up mammoth total of 325 and Ireland was considered too small a team to overhaul the target.

Led by Kevin O’Brien – who scored 113 off 67 balls – Ireland chased down the target, with 5 balls to spare, causing one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Cup. Yes, Ireland were minnows, an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), not fitting the bill of top flight teams that a World Cup boasts of. At the same time, England were one of the pre-tournament favorites. Yet, the miracle happened, and as records tumbled the match stayed as one of the highlights of the richest cricket world cup yet (in terms of money generated for ICC).

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Women’s Cricket: Preparing for Future?

Biratnagar seems to be stamping its authority on youth cricket. That is what looks like, with the region’s title win at the Women’s U-19 National Cricket Championship, following the boys’ win at similar championship a few months earlier.

It appears as if things are on the right track for the region that has given as many as 7 players in the men’s national squad (among 14) in 2002. The region that has won 4 back to back national championships seems to be back to producing quality cricketers again.

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