President Bhandari declares Games open, officiallyPresident Bidya Devi Bhandari declared the eighth National Games open as the multi-sporting extravaganza of the country officially kicked off at the Nepalgunj Stadium amidst poor preparations on Thursday.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari declared the eighth National Games open as the multi-sporting extravaganza of the country officially kicked off at the Nepalgunj Stadium amidst poor preparations on Thursday.
A total of 14 sports disciplines out of 35 had already concluded when the opening ceremony started. At the refurbished Nepalgunj Stadium the event witnessed a colourful inauguration partially under lights.
The opening ceremony began with the march-past of players from all seven provinces, three departmental teams—Tribhuvan Army Club, Nepal Police Club and Nepal Armed Police Club,—Non Resident Nepalese Association and tournament officials. The march-past was followed by cultural presentation from different organisations.
Youth Olympian Sonu Bhatta of judo took the oath on behalf of the players and weightlifting’s Samsuddhin Siddiqui represented the referees and judges. Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokhrel hoped the infrastructure prepared for the Games will set an example for all other parts of the country. “The infrastructure constructed for the National Games in Province 5 is result of hard work from every individual. I am sure the current infrastructure is going to be utilized for the development of the region in coming days as well. I hope the infrastructure will help people from other provinces to follow the suit and get encouraged in holding National Games like this,” said Pokhrel.
President Bhandari congratulated Province 5 hosting the Games saying: “This edition of the Games is result of a long preparation and intense hard work from everyone involved. I expect having regular events like these will help our athletes enhance their competitive skill.” The speech from the President was followed by the eighth National Games theme song from parliamentarian Komal Oli, vote of thanks from Youth and Sports Minister Jagat Bahadur Bishwakarma, khukuri drill from Nepal Army and joint physical drill from 12 different organisations.
Olympian and Province 5 parliament member Surendra Hamal lit the Olympic cauldron before the opening ceremony was concluded with fireworks. National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshav Kumar Bista said the Games will help Nepal, as a country, and athletes prepare for the upcoming 13th South Asian Games that the country is hosting from December 1-9.
“The National Games has helped Nepal add few more sports infrastructure. This will show our preparedness to organise the regional event. Our preparation for the South Asian Games will be boosted further after the Games. We have taken this Games as athletes’ preparation for the South Asian Games and hope our players will give the best at the international level,” said Bista.
Although the Games are certain to lay foundation for multiple sporting infrastructure at Province 5, the opening ceremony was blighted by under preparedness of the local organising committee. The finishing works around the 3,500-seater VIP parapet brought from China was still incomplete when the organisers welcomed the guests.
Multiple facilities at the Nepalgunj Stadium premises were completed only by 70 percent with rest of the works still in doubt to be completed even after the Games conclude on April 24. The swimming complex adjoining the Stadium still gives a barren look as it is certain to be relocated to a different venue although local organiser Bhim Oli insists otherwise.
“We cannot rule out the fact that works at the swimming pool are yet to be completed but we will get it done and hold the event there by postponing it for two days,” said Oli. However, swimming is not the only venue that looks under-prepared for the Games. The covered hall that hosted fencing events and will see wushu events kicking off from Thursday is left with a huge amount of work to be done. The handball venue, also at the Stadium premises, looks substandard.