We need judo academy to ensure better results, says BajracharyaTKP's Prajwal Oli caught up with Nepal Judo Association President Deepak Harsh Bajracharya and talked about various aspects of judo
We need judo academy to ensure better results, says Bajracharya
Deepak Harsh Bajracharya is leading Nepal Judo Association as president for the last 12 years. His third tenure as the chief of one of the active martial arts games will end by the mid-march. Bajracharya, the former vice president of Asian Judo Union, is also the director of education and coaching at the AJU as well as education director at the International Judo Federation. The honorary fourth dan of judo, Bajracharya is largely credited to making Nepali judo vibrant. He is also partly blamed for leading the association for too long. Judo was one of the three disciplines that earned gold medal for Nepal in the 12th South Asian Games in India in 2016. As Nepal prepares to host the 13th SAG on December 1-10, the Post’s Prajwal Oli caught up with Bajracharya and talked about various aspects of judo. Excerpts:
How do you see the overall preparations of Nepal in terms of 13th SAG?
National Sports Council has set priorities for certain games. While some have already started their preparations, others are yet to launch their bid. I can see those players or the games that have greater prospect of winning medals are currently undergoing training. However, I cannot precisely say about how the preparation of all the games that are included in the SAG are going on. We had discussions with the Sports Council and the Ministry of Youth and Sports yesterday (Monday) and we are very happy that the sports governing body has promised to hand responsibility of preparations to the respective sports association.
What about the preparation of judo?
Since it was long decided that Nepal will host the sports meet, we have been preparing for the last six months. We have also been in touch with our international federation—the IJF— and have requested to provide experts (coaches) for the purpose. They are positive to our request. We are also planning to send players abroad so as to provide them better exposure. Along with SAG, we have also started preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We will also send some players for training abroad for at least two months. Though we have got the required resources for training, lack of adequate nutrition for player is the main concern for us. Sports Council should make such arrangements.
What are the expectations of judo players in the impending SAG?
We had won one gold, two silver and four bronze medals from a 12-member judoka team in the last SAG in 2016. This time we are expecting three or four gold medals. We have been preparing accordingly and currently there are 18 players in the national team camp. But we are planning to keep 28 judokas in the camp including the mixed team event.
Could you explain why Phupu Lhamu Khatri, the South Asian gold medallists of the last edition, has been suspended until 2020?
She was banned for serious disciplinary violation. We sent her to train in Japan so as to prepare her for the 2020 Olympics. She was sent there to train for two years after collaborating with Nepal Olympic Committee, Japan Olympic Committee and Kodokan [the founder institute of judo]. She was the first player from Nepal to get such a facility. Everything including her education (graduation level), pocket money and training along with hostel facility were pre-arranged for her. But she suddenly returned home after six months without even taking our consent.
Though she had informed us (Nepal Judo) that it had become difficult for her to stay in Japan, we had asked her to wait for a few more days so that we could find some amicable solutions. But she did not listen to us. Due to Khatri’s conduct even other Nepali players, who were supposed to train in Japan, were denied similar opportunities. Even after her arrival to Nepal, she did not contact us despite our call to discuss the matter. Neither did she apologise nor was she willing to speak to us. So we had no other option but to suspend her.
Martial arts appear to lose its charm in Nepal. Why is it so?
The attraction is directly associated with professionalism and there is a lack of professionalism in these games compared to mass team game. But the scenario is gradually changing. Now there are many judo events—world championships, grand prix, grand slam—which presents cash awards to the winners. We are also planning to include a cash award to motivate players.
It has been almost 12 years that you have leading judo. During this period Nepal has achieved a very little progress in terms of results. Why?
The level of judo is far better than in the past despite not having a desired international level. It takes time for getting better and our level has been far better than a decade ago. After judo was excluded from eighth SAG in 1999, many judokas deserted the game which left a big vacuum to fill. But now we have reached a level where our players can challenge some of the strong judo nations.
What are the requirements for long term development of the game?
We need at least a judo academy in the country in order to get better results at international arena. We are working on setting up an academy in Nepalgunj where we own a land. Our concept is to make Nepal a judo training hub of South Asia and if government helps us construct the academy, we will make arrangements for other equipment such as mat and gee from International Judo Federation.