Khadka and Bhandari named players of the decade
Former national cricket team captain Paras Khadka and star footballer Sabitra Bhandari were honored with Male and Female Player of the Decade respectively at the annual NSJF Pulsar Sports Award held amid a grand ceremony at the Nepal Academy Hall in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
Cricket manager Jagat Tamata was named Coach of the Decade at the ceremony which honored the male player, female player and coach based on their performances and achievements over the past decade, unlike previous editions which recognized players based on past performance. calendar year.
The organizer of the Nepal Sports Journalists Forum award, the umbrella organization for sports journalists in the country, had previously announced that it would award sports personalities in three categories by reviewing their performance over the past decade instead of the calendar year. Nepal last as very few sporting events took place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Table tennis player Elina Maharjan won the people’s choice award which was decided by e-sewa voting, Facebook likes, points awarded by coaches and sports journalists among the five nominees. She obtained 47.8% of the votes. Women’s national soccer team goalkeeper Anjila Tumbapo Subba, commuter Prince Dahal, cricketer Kushal Bhurtel and long-distance runner Santoshi Shrestha were other nominees for the People’s Choice category.
“I already felt like a winner when I was nominated for the award,” said Maharjan, a member of the women’s national table tennis team and a two-time bronze medalist at the South Asian Games (SAG).
Khadka, the most accomplished cricketer Nepal has ever had, announced his surprise international retirement last year in August. The all-rounder led Nepal’s rise from a Division 5 team, the lowest tier in international cricket, in 2010 to One Day International (ODI) Nation status, the highest tier, in 2018 – a rare achievement for any country in such a short period.
Mid-order batsman Khadka, who also played at mid-pace, has enjoyed an illustrious career since taking up cricket. Khadka represented the country at the Under-19 World Cups in 2004, 2006 and 2008 while also being part of the senior squad. He took over the senior team in 2009 at the age of 22. He is also the first Nepalese player to reach a one-day international hundred when he managed 115 points against the United Arab Emirates in 2021, in addition to scoring a T20I century.
“The credit for this award goes to my teammates because I am nothing without them. I thank my teammates and coaches for the award. I will remain involved in the game even though I have announced my retirement,” said the player from Khadka cricket.
Bhandari, the women’s national football team goal machine, is considered one of the best strikers of the current generation of players at South Asian level. She is the two-time silver medalist in the SAFF Women’s Championship and holds the record for top international goalscorer for Nepal with 38 goals in 40 games. The 25-year-old has scored far more goals than her highest male counterpart’s tally of 13.
She played a key role in Nepal’s second place at the Nadezhda Cup in Kyrgyzstan in 2019 and second place at the Hero Cup in India the same year. Bhandari had scored both goals against India in their 2-1 win as Nepal secured their first ever victory over their strong opponents. She was also one of the key players for Sethu FC and Gokulam Kerala FC in the 2019 and 2020 seasons and guided the teams to I-League titles.
Tamata was the coach of the national team when they were granted ODI status in 2018. He coached the team when Nepal qualified for the U-19 World Cup in 2012 and 2016. He played a crucial role as a coach in guiding the team to the U-19 World Cup quarter-finals, the highest place Nepal has ever reached, out of seven appearances in the World Age Group Tournament . He also led the women’s team to a bronze medal at the 2019 South Asian Games.
“The credit for the award goes to the players and the success we have achieved is the result of their hard work and dedication. I have been in cricket for 42 years and I promise to stay in the game all my life,” Tamata said.
Long-distance runner Pushpa Bhandari received the Performer of the Year award for winning the Dhaka Marathon last year. She was one of a handful of Nepalese athletes to compete internationally in the year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Para-athlete Sarita Thulung received a para-athlete honour. The 37-year-old plays several games including athletics, swimming and wheelchair basketball. She was a victim of poliomyelitis as a child.
Dr. Ajay Rana received a special award while the men’s national football team that won the Three Nations Cup last year in Kathmandu received the team of the year award.
Kuwaiti sports journalist Satam Al Sehali received the Asian Sports Journalist Award. He is president of AIPS-Asia, the international organization of Asian sports journalists. AIPS-Asia Secretary General Amjad Aziz Malik received the award on his behalf.
The winners of the male, female, trainer and people’s choice awards each received a Pulsar motorcycle while the winner of all other categories won a cash prize of Rs 50,000 except for the journalist award.
Late Shah receives Golden Salvation Award
The late sports administrator Sharad Chandra Shah received a lifetime achievement award.
Shah, who died in July 2012, is credited with introducing a modern approach to Nepalese sports and building significant sports infrastructure in the country during his 11-year tenure from 1977 to 1988 as member secretary of the National Sports Council .
Saha’s wife, Renu Shah, received the award. Shah introduced the National Games to Nepal and was also responsible for the birth of the South Asian Sub-Continental Games (SAG). It was under Shah’s leadership that the very first SAG known as the South Asian Federation Games (SAFG) was later held in Kathmandu in 1984.
Apart from the National Games, he also launched Inter City Sports in the country and played a key role as Chief Executive of the National Sports Council (NSC) in constructing indoor halls in all 75 districts of the country. It was under his tenure that the country saw the construction of stadiums in all five development regions of the country.
At the Seoul Olympics in 1988, Nepal sent 17 athletes to the Games compared to six at the Tokyo Olympics last year and its tenure in sports is considered a golden period in Nepalese sports. He resigned on moral grounds in 1988 after a stampede at Dasharath Stadium claimed the lives of at least 72 people during a football match.
He was, however, a controversial figure in Nepalese politics.