The dilemma of Nepalese sport

Photo: Wikipedia

It is not incorrect to say that the condition and position of sports in Nepal is oblivious to the people living elsewhere, especially if that “elsewhere” is located about approximately 4500 miles from the country. Nepalese sport is probably not one of the most intriguing and exciting subjects to keep track of but it is surely something that needs to be resonated to a wider range of audience. I would like to shift from the regular discussion about recurring topics to something that is seldom or never talked about.

The situation of sport in Nepal can be summarised in one word: “atrocious”.  From the recent (pretty much ongoing) scandals involving Nepalese footballers to the debilitating conditions of sports facilities (like the swamp that the only international cricket stadium has turned into), the field of sports has been subject to a huge talent drain.  I believe that the status given to Nepali sports does not compliment the ability of the Nepalese people. Be it cricket, football or even an ordinary a sport as gilli danda (an amateur, low-budget game that is played using two sticks by hitting each other), one can see people indulging in all kinds of games and activities and also at the same time, being good at it. So it really is the case that something as important as sport is being neglected by the Nepali Government.

But in spite of this, there is a silver lining that should be acknowledged. Cricket was a sport that was not really popular in Nepal until it emerged onto the scene when the Nepali cricket team progressed to the T20 World Cup in 2014. This was a momentous occasion in the context of Nepali sport. But it also achieved another thing, something far more important than this. It made people realise that their dreams and aspirations are attainable, irrespective of the environment they were raised in, if they put in the effort required.  Now, even though Nepal was not able to qualify for the group stage of the competition, it meant a huge deal for the cricketing community and even the Nepalese people in general.  Since this success, Nepali cricket has undergone some decline, even though the interest in the sport has not stagnated. Again, it all comes down to the governing body which has been allegedly accused of corruption and money laundering (this has started to become a common issue worldwide). This has shifted the focus of the international cricketing board from the actual game to the bureaucracy that surrounds it.

This might seem like a far-fetched issue to people who don’t know much about Nepal or Nepalese sport but if viewed from a global perspective, it is a concern for the whole world. Sport is not only limited to a particular place or a country, but spreads throughout the globe and can be a force for good in a world often fraught with crises.


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