Sports in Nepal not spared by the earthquakes

National coach dead, football stadium damaged and cricket team’s preparations in disarray.

football nepal earthquake
The Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu houses makeshift tents for earthquake survivors [AP]

A revered national sports coach is among the thousands of dead, trapped in his rented house when devastating earthquakes rocked Nepal.

The main football stadium was damaged, before becoming a makeshift refuge for displaced survivors of the quakes.

The national cricket team’s preparations for a major international tournament next are in disarray.

The Asian weightlifting championships, scheduled for Kathmandu in July, are destined to be held somewhere else.

None of our players are harmed physically but they have suffered mental scars just like any other person

by Pubundu Dassanayake, Cricket coach

The two recent earthquakes killed more than 8,500 people, and have had a devastating impact on all aspects of life in Nepal, including sports.

Nepal Volleyball Association general secretary Jeetendra Bahadur Chand said coach Keshav Lal Shrestha’s death in Kathmandu was “irreparable”.

“He was a dedicated and experienced coach,” Chand said of Shrestha, who played in the 1982 Asian Games at New Delhi and was coaching for almost 30 years.

“He was a dedicated and experienced coach whose demise is a great loss for sports in Nepal.”

Shrestha was among eight people associated with sports who were killed in the quakes, according to the National Sports Council’s Deepak Bista, the member secretary of the players’ welfare fund.

Paralympian Jeet Bahadur Khadka and prominent sports writer Suman Bhomjan are among those to have died.

Not giving up

The small but resilient national sports fraternity is determined to get things back on track.

Pubundu Dassanayake is trying to prepare for the national cricket team for qualifiers for the World Twenty20 tournament.

“We’re not going to give up,” he said. “The tournament is vital for the future of Nepal’s cricket and we plan to go to India for preparations.”

Nepal qualified for the last World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in 2014 and is due to participate in the July 9-26 qualifying competition in Ireland and Scotland, hoping to secure a spot at the 2016 edition in India.

“None of our players are harmed physically but they have suffered mental scars just like any other person,” said Dassanayake.

Over 8,500 people were killed in the earthquakes [EPA]
Over 8,500 people were killed in the earthquakes [EPA]

The Tribhuvan University ground’s indoor cricket facility has sustained obvious damage, while the walls surrounding the Dasharath Stadium, which hosted the recent World Cup football qualifier against India, have collapsed.

Both venues are being used as shelters for people displaced by the earthquake.

The national football league has been suspended indefinitely.

Nepal may also lose the rights to host the 2015 Asian weightlifting championships, which were due to be held in Kathmandu from July 24-30.

The Asian weightlifting federation lists the championships as “to be confirmed” and has encouraged the Nepal organisers to host the 2016 championships instead.

Source: AP