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Journey from a farm–boy to a trendsetter
In the field of sports for more than two decades now, Deepak Bista is a renowned taekwondo fighter in Nepal. Originally from a remote village of Kanchanpur, he moved to Kathmandu in 1996 with a hope of contributing to the field of sports. His journey started with his participation in the 4th National Championship. Bista is the first and only athlete who won four SAG gold medals in the South Asian region. Winning gold medals from 1999-2011, he has set a new record in the history of Nepali sports. After his retirement in 2014, he has been working as a taekwondo coach.
In conversation with My City’s Sonam Lama, Deepak Bista talks about the experiences and setbacks of his journey.
What inspired you to make your journey in sports?
Born and raised in the remote village of Kanchanpur, I only knew that I liked playing outdoors games with my friends. Growing up with a family who made a living as farmers, it was obvious that no one in my family ever played any games and so I was not encouraged to play. There were times when I was assigned with a lot of household chores but rather than grazing cattle I used to spend my time playing games. During my initial years, I used to read about renowned players and yearn to establish myself as one. My interest in sports gradually grew with time and this interest eventually led me to Kathmandu. I believe my will-power and curiosity has made me who I am today.
How tough has the journey been?
My struggles began in 2053, when I arrived in Kathmandu. From the language to the lifestyle of the people, everything bewildered me. I had to be flexible to every circumstance and had to carry out multiple tasks on my own. Since my family wanted me to excel in my studies, they were not happy about my interest in sports. But I finally convinced them to accept my interests. There were countless struggles along the way but I persevered and learned to stand every time I fell. Moreover, the training and sparring sessions led to numerous injuries that compelling me to undergo many surgeries.
Reflecting back your struggling phase, has the perception and scope of sports changed since then?
I believe that the scenario has been developing with time. All we need now is to be well-managed and properly trained. With the establishment of sports academies and access to better opportunity, the area of sport has started booming. I think people are now convinced that sports can serve their interest, earn them a healthy lifestyle and a good reputation. Besides that, with many of our players competing in the international games, the scope for sports in Nepal will improve as long as we have potential players who can perform internationally.
In your view, what should be done to improve the field of sports in Nepal?
As per my experience, equal priority should be given to the sports sector in Nepal. The government should introduce better managements systems, policies and investments in these sectors. Many sports academies should be established to encourage players and they should provide financial support as well. Sports, as a subject, should be introduced in the school curriculum to make people aware about sports in Nepal.
What advice would you give young people aspiring for a career in sports?
Being a sportsperson requires a lot of patience and perseverance. Although youth today hardly like to struggle, they have what it takes to take the field to the new heights. Therefore, ample opportunities need to be provided in order for sports to take a firm ground here; we have many talents that have yet to be discovered.