Nepal Ends Asian Games Campaign on a Disappointing Note!
Nepal once again ended its Asian Games campaign on a disappointing note with Bimala Tamang bringing home the only medal (bronze) in women´s kata event of karate.
Unlike the promises of many players and officials not to return home empty handed, the outcome was disastrous.
In the 25 sports Nepal participated, many had pinned high hopes on men´s cricket as having the potential of earning a medal. However, the cricket team too failed to show its magic in the vital fixture against arch rival Afghanistan in the quarterfinal.
Team coaches and players were optimistic before the cricket tournament. But eight-run defeat at the hands of Afghans dashed all hopes of Team Nepal.
“The match was under our control until the 15th over in the 120-run target chase. But the scenario changed in the last five overs. The nervousness of players during the last quarter cost dearly,” coach Pubudu Dassanayake told Republica.
“Though the match was under our control, we finished poorly at the end and it happens sometimes in the game of cricket. We tried our best but the luck was not with us,” said Skipper Paras Khadka.
However, coach Dassanayake said he was happy with the performance in the Asian Games.
“I am happy with the team´s performance. Though we had chances of winning a medal, we lost to Afghanistan, comparatively a better side than Nepal.
Afghanistan had technically sound players with lots of international exposures,” added coach Dassanayake.
He also lamented that Nepal did not have enough international exposure compared to Afghanistan.
Nepali team, which reached South Korea a few hours before kick-off ahead of Kuwait clash, had defeated Kuwait by nine wickets and Maldives by seven wickets in group matches before losing to Afghanistan in the quarterfinal.
Asian Games was not only vital for medals but it also a good opportunity to have exposure ahead of ICC World Cricket League Division 3, scheduled to be held in Malaysia from October 23 to 30.
“Players had opportunities to learn from stronger teams in the event which could have been helpful for ICC WCL Division 3,” opined coach Dassanayake.
Coach Dassanayake and Paras, however, said that the defeat against Afghanistan will not hamper team´s moral and preparation for the Division 3.
“Our target is to win Division 3, so the outcome of Asian Games will not upset our team in Malaysia,” said coach, adding that the team will go Malaysia after touring Sri Lanka for a week. “The Sri Lanka tour will be best for international exposure to prepare for the event,” he said.
Skipper Paras added that getting opportunities to play in the Asian Games was extra advantage for Nepal and the team will rectify its mistakes of the Games.
“We learnt many things in the Asian Games and we will try not to repeat the mistakes. The result of the tournament will also not affect our goal as we are preparing to win Division 3,” echoed Paras.
Nepal will begin its campaign of Division 3 against Uganda on October 23 and play against Bermuda the next day.
Likewise, Nepal will play its third match against Singapore on October 26 and fourth match against United States of America on October 27.
Nepal will play fifth and the last match of the tournament against host Malaysia on October 29.
The top two teams will qualify for Division 2, while third and fourth teams will remain in Division 3 and fifth and sixth teams will be relegated to Division 4.