Nepal’s Soni Gurung secures first South Asian Games gold in triathlonBasanta Tharu wins bronze in men’s event for Nepal while the gold and silver medals were claimed by Indian athletes
Soni Gurung became the first Nepali athlete to secure a triathlon gold as she won the women’s sprint event at the ongoing 13 South Asian Games in Pokhara on Monday.
Gurung completed the 750 metre swim, 20km cycling and 5km sprint in 1 hour 13 minutes and 45 seconds to finish ahead of India’s Sarojini Devi Thaudam who took silver with the timing of 1:14:00. Another Indian athlete Pragyanya Mohan secured bronze medal clocking 1:14:57.
India claimed the top two places in the men’s event, with Adarsh MS coming home in 1:02:31 to take the gold medal, and Bishwa Rajit Saikhom (1:02:59) to win silver. Nepal’s Basanta Tharu, who finished the race in 1:03:06 to complete the podium.
Nepal’s triathlon head coach Yuvaraj Silwal is gunning for another gold medal in the event. “Our main opponent is India. A lot of hard work has gone into our training. We are expecting gold medals in women’s event and mixed relay,” said Silwal. “Our men’s team seemed a little tardy but we are hoping to claim the gold in duathlon.”
The duathlon events will take place on Tuesday, while mixed relay is scheduled for Wednesday. Athletes will have to complete a 5km sprint, 20km cycling and 2.5km sprint for the duathlon event, while for the mixed relay comprises a 300 metre swimming, 6km cycling and 2.5 km sprint.
This is the second time that the Nepali athletes have participated in this sprint event at the South Asian Games. Nepal won a silver medal in the mixed relay and a bronze in the women's sprint at the 12th Games in Guwahati/Assam, India in 2016.
Nilendra Raj Shrestha, chairman of the Nepal Triathlon Association and general secretary of the Nepal Olympic Committee, announced Rs100,000 cash prize to gold medal winner Gurung. Likewise, Gandaki Province lawmaker Dipak Koirala also announced Rs25,000 cash prize for the winners.