The rise of Gaurika Singh was evident in 2019 as well when she became the first Nepali swimmer to win four gold medals at the 13th South Asian Games held in December.
Gaurika become the only player to have won four in a single edition of the regional sporting event. She equaled the record of total gold medals set by Deepak Bista.
She keeps improving on her national record in each national event. Her defeating of the Indian counterparts means that expectations from her will continue to grow in Nepal.
Gaurika won a total of 4 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals in the 13th SAG. She was the major contributor in Nepal’s historic medal tally in the tournament.
CAN reinstatement (Cricket)
The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) was reinstated by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The cricket in Nepal that was plagued by the absence of a governing body since 2016 for breaching the ICC regulations became fully functional in October last year.
The new governing body vowed to prohibit government interference and follow free and fair elections for the upliftment of Nepal’s cricket.
While the country has seen ongoing construction of Gautam Buddha International Cricket Stadium led by Dhurmus-Suntali Foundation, CAN’s biggest assignment will be hosting three nations’ tri-series between Nepal, the United States and Oman in February under ICC World Cricket League which acts as qualifier series for upcoming ICC World Cup.
Golden batch (Volleyball)
Nepal national women volleyball team was arguably the best sports team of Nepal in the last year or so. Equally loved and supported by the fans, the team led by Aruna Shahi finished second, winning silver medal, in the recently concluded 13th South Asian Games. They ran India close with a scoreline of 3-2 to finish the highest any Nepali volleyball team has ever been. The golden batch of players had won the historic AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation) Asian Central Zone Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship coming into the SAG.
The players like Saraswoti Chaudhary, Pratibha Mali, Reshma Bhandari, Salina Shrestha, and Kamala Pun are still very young. It hints to a promising future of Nepali volleyball, if handled properly.
SAG domination (Football)
Nepali football claimed new heights in December as it completed consecutive wins of SAG football in two straight editions. With the result, Nepal became just the joint highest winner of the sport discipline to win four titles along with Pakistan.
Players like Abhishek Rijal, who now plays for Machhindra in the Qatar Airways Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League, along with Mikchhen Tamang and Nitin Thapa among others, shined and also put their names into the fray for the selection of the next national squad.
Dominating teams like Bhutan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal again presented outclassing performances in the tournament. But, it was also mentioned that Nepal profited in the absence of India and Pakistan. The fact that Nepal beat India 2-1 in the final to win the gold in the 16th SAG should be prevalent when it comes to age group tournament.
New heights in athletics
Athletics achieved new heights in this edition with Santoshi Shrestha, Gopi Chand Parki and Kiran Singh Bogati bagging golds for the country.
Shrestha won her gold in the women’s 10,000 meters race as she beat her closest competitor by just 10 milliseconds. The gold became more special due to the fact that it was the first for Nepal in women’s category in any international tournament.
Likewise, Parki won the gold in men’s 5,000m run, while Bogati added more delight to the Nepali faces completing the 42-kilometer Marathon in two hours, 21 minutes and 17 seconds to win the gold medal.