Gaurika Singh to lead Nepal as flag bearer in TokyoApart from swimmers Singh and Alexander Shah, Nepali team includes shooter Kalpana Pariyar, judoka Soniya Bhatta and sprinter Saraswati Chaudhary.
Swimmer Gaurika Singh will lead Nepal as flag bearer during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 scheduled for July 23 to August 8.
Singh, 19, who came into limelight as the youngest athlete in the 2016 Rio Olympics at 13 years and 255 days, will lead the five-member Nepali team in the march past in the opening ceremony, said Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) at a press conference in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Singh claimed four gold medals during the South Asian Games held in December 2019 in Kathmandu.
Apart from Singh, swimmer Alexander Gadegaard Shah, shooter Kalpana Pariyar, judoka Soniya Bhatta and sprinter Saraswati Chaudhary will represent Nepal in the Games. Singh and Shah will compete in women's and men's 100 m freestyle events. Pariyar will vie in the women's 10 m air rifle while Bhatta will battle in women's -48kg weight category in judo. Saraswati will represent Nepal in the women's 100 m race.
Among them, swimmer Singh and Shah, and athlete Chaudhary were picked for Olympics under universality place while the remaining two were given wild cards or entry by invitation. Swimmers Singh and Shah have already reached Tokyo accompanied by coach Shankhar Karki. Ashim Yadav is shooting coach, Suryanarayan Shrestha judo coach and Indra Kumari Malla is athletics coach.
The Nepali team will have a total 26 members including nine from the NOC, four from National Sports Council, the secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Kedar Neupane, and medical staff among others.
National Sports Council (NSC) member secretary Ramesh Kumar Silwal will lead the Nepali team in the capacity of chef-de-mission. It will be the second participation of Nepal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the same place where Nepal started their campaign in the games in 1964. Despite participating in the Olympics for 14 times, Nepal have not won even a single medal in the mega sports event and Nepal does not have hopes of winning a medal in the upcoming Games as well.
"We are hopeful that the players would improve their personal records in the Games," said chef-de-mission Silwal. NOC President Jeevan Ram Shrestha claimed that it was the best ever and longest preparation of Nepali team in the Olympics. Nepali team had started their preparations for the Olympics from May 2019 with 12 players of seven games receiving International Olympic Committee (IOC) scholarships.
Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) also unveiled the Olympics campaign named 'Nepal Olympic Yatra' at the press meet held in the capital on Tuesday.
Despite the claims made by Shrestha, Nepal's Olympics campaign has been heavily criticised by the country’s sports fraternity after marathon runner Gopi Chandra Parki was denied participation in the Games. NOC and Nepal Athletics Association had assured Parki of his participation in the Olympics after he won the Nepalgunj Marathon held in November last year.
Parki had been training for the Olympics with the ambition of breaking the long-held South Asian record of 2 hours 15 minutes 03 seconds set by legendary runner Baikuntha Manandhar. But the NOC informed two weeks earlier that Parki was ineligible to compete in the Olympics because they did not get enough quota spots for the Olympics.
Instead of Parki, the NOC and Nepal Athletics Association picked Saraswati Chaudhary for the women's 100 m sprint event without conducting a qualifier.