River guides representing Nepal in World ChampionshipsOn their way to the world championship, the Nepali team has been financially assisted by multiple organisations. This will be Nepal’s second official participation in the World Rafting Championships.
Three years ago Padam Bahadur Gurung was rafting at the Minamikoma-gun river of Japan. All his family in Fisling, Chitwan, accumulated was what Gurung earned in seven months as a rafting guide in Japan.
Gurung, who earned close to Rs 200,000 in Japan, has now taken a break from that lucrative job to represent Nepal in the World Rafting Championships scheduled for May 13-20 in Queensland. “Its tough to look after the family when you earn a good amount and completely stop earning. But playing a global event representing your country has a different feeling. So I am taking a two-month break,” said Gurung. From April to October every year, Gurung works as rafting guide in Japanese rivers. He has been in the profession for the last 12 years.
The Nepali rafting team including Shakti Kumar Gurung, Dipesh Gurung, Sabin Gurung and Rabil Miya of Ichhya Kamana Rural Municipality (Chitwan), Sunil Gurung of Siranchowk (Gorkha) and Suraj Gurung of Gandaki Rural Municipality landed in Queensland on Wednesday after a two-month pre-tournament preparation in Trishuli, Marshyangdi and Seti rivers back home in Nepal.
Rafters from 30 countries are participating in the eight-day World Championship at the Tully River through a combination of disciplines that include sprints, heat to head, slalom and down river. Nepali rafters, who all are river guides, began their training at the Tully River from Friday.
Padam, Sabin and Rabil work in Japan while team skipper Suraj in Iceland. Rest of the three members work in Nepal. During the rafting season, the Nepali river guides earn close to Rs 50,000 every month in Nepal. The Nepali rafters had to sacrifice the current season to compete in the worlds.
“Competing in the World Championships is very rare for us. We had dreamed of representing the country in this global event and it is now fulfilled,” said team captain Suraj who has been working in Iceland since 2016 for its peak season from May to September. He earns around Rs 400,000 in Iceland every month.
Nepal coach Nim Bahadur Magar expected best result from his rafters. “These guys have sacrificed a healthy paycheck and trained for eight hours every day to represent Nepal at the global stage. They have trained hard and we are expecting a good result,” said Magar.
On their way to the world championship, the Nepali team has been financially assisted by multiple organisations. This will be Nepal’s second official participation in the World Rafting Championships.
After participating in the 2017 edition in Japan, Nepal didn’t compete in the 2018 event in Argentina. The team winning the national competition are selected for the worlds.