Published On: September 25, 2018 11:45 AM NPT By: Sonam Lama

Enriching the standard of Nepali basketball

Enriching the standard of Nepali basketball

Currently, Bikash Shahi is in the process of recovering from an appendectomy. However, he is eager to get back to the basketball court to mentor his players. Shahi took up the national duty in 2011 when he was appointed the coach of the Nepali women's basketball team. Under his mentorship, the national women’s team has redefined success, clinching numerous international accolades. 

The highlight of his coaching career came in 2017 when the Nepali team won silver in the SABA Championship at Dasharath Rangashala. Besides his professional engagement in sports, he is also the ECA director at Samriddhi School, Banasthali.

In an interview with My City’s Sonam Lama, Shahi talked about his experiences.

What led you to changing profession from a player to coach?
Basketball started as a mean of refreshment, but after some time, I sought a career in the game. Later, I realized the position of a resourceful coach in producing skillful players. I could have further polished my abilities as a player, but I chose to coach. It is a more challenging task. Motivating players, and creating a team with high spirit is among the chief duties of a coach. My goal, of creating a good team, subsequently led me to pursue a career as a coach. 

How have women participation evolved over the years?
Nepal has been witnessing increasing participation of women in basketball. Further improvements are due to occur with time. Initially, they were questioned and confined within the stereotypical barriers created by the society. However, the present scenario encourages the participation of women in basketball. 

Considering the increase in international competitions, what are the drawbacks that still exist in basketball?
Our players have all it takes to qualify and compete in international tournaments. However, there are a few factors hindering them from performing their best. While practicing, the players are trained to match up their skills in par with the international players. The most prominent challenge is that there is only one basketball court in Nepal which matches the international regulations. Also, risks related to injuries are quite high, I see the need to establish security measures, and introduce medical insurance to the players. 

How much does winning matter to you as a coach?
It's obvious to carry expectations from the players. I am well aware of their capability. Winning matters to me to, but I don't wish to stress them in the process of attaining victory. Teamwork is my top-most priority.  There are times when the players' hard work doesn’t reflect on the court. Therefore, as a coach, I focus on enhancing their performance. 

How can you increase the quality of performance?
For the players to perform better in international competitions, the players should be groomed well in practice sessions. Our players tend to stress out during international games. We should find ways to minimize the stress by organizing friendly matches at regular intervals. Also, the differences in cash prizes and pay scale between male and female players should be eliminated.

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