Manday Kaji credits patience and hard work for his successManday Kaji Shrestha took many tests before he ultimately became one of the greatest Nepali karate players of all time.
A player would be called the best only when s/he passes hurdles one after another. But the story of 13th South Asian Games (SAG) twin gold medalist Manday Kaji Shrestha is different. He not only had to pass the hurdles of his professional career but also win the fight against his luck.
The hardworking player took many tests before he ultimately became one of the greatest Nepali karate players of all time. Had he not waited patiently for years, he would have been just another player who left the ring unnoticed.
But Shrestha achieved the historic mark when he became the first Nepali karateka to bag double gold medals in the regional sports meet held last year from December 1 to 10 in the country. He clinched gold medals in the individual and team kata events.
Going by the past incidents of the 36-year-old as a player, even luck was not by his side. Whenever he got close to any achievement, it drifted away. Nearly one and a half decades back, while he was a member of the national karate team, he was axed from final selection for the 2006 SAG.
He was in the Nepali team for the 2010 SAG and even travelled with the team to Dhaka. Unfortunately, he had to return home without competing. Of the 11 Nepali karatekas, only 10 were allowed to compete and Shrestha was the 11th player. “It was really a bitter experience and I cried all the way back home,” he recalls.
The next edition of the Games, held in 2016 in India, was painful not just for him but the whole karate fraternity. The organisers scrapped karate from the Games owing to an infighting in the Indian karate body.
But amid uncertainty and last hour rush, the 13th SAG took place in Nepal last year and it was an ideal opportunity for Shrestha to prove himself at the home ground. He left no stone unturned to grab the historic gold medals. Having spent more than two decades in the game since he took up karate when he was just 10, his achievement last year brought him recognition as one of the most successful karatekas of the country.
"Now I have transformed into a new Manday Kaji. Patience, hard work and family support are key to my success," said the native of Madhyapur, Thimi who also secured gold and bronze in the South Asian Karate Championship held last year in Bangladesh and silver in Thailand Open.
For his achievement and popularity in the past year, Shrestha has been nominated for the peoples' choice category of the annual Pulsar Sports Award to be held on January 12. Volleyball captain Aruna Shahi, basketball captain Sadina Shrestha, football's Sabitra Bhandari and swimmer Gaurika Singh are the other nominees of the category. The winner among them will be decided on the basis of votes received through eSewa, Facebook likes, votes from organiser Nepal Sports Journalists Forum members and chief coaches of sports associations.