August 20, 2018 11:07 AM NPT
By: AJAY PHUYAL
Nepal’s Suresh Chunara (red) competes with Japan’s Yuhi Fujinami in a men’s 74 kg wrestling match at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sunday. (Right) A player of Nepal prepares to compete in fencing. Photo: Ajay Phuyal/Republica
JAKARTA, Aug 20: Nepal does not really hope to win a gold medal in the Asian Games. However, it has been participating in the Asian sports jamboree with a faint hope of getting a bronze medal or two in martial arts.
Nepal has been fielding its badminton team with even weaker mentality. The truth about Nepal’s badminton is that the team gets some bonus with one or two favorable tie-sheet. But, on Sunday, the Nepali men’s team established a new truth. After the win against Pakistan, the team changed its image from ‘whipping boys’ to ‘winning boys’.
Pakistan would always dominate Nepal in international badminton. The Pakistani men’s team had defeated Nepal 3-2 in team’s event in the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) organized in Shillong and Guwahati in India two years ago. The Nepali team has managed to take revenge over Pakistan for that and the previous losses with a straight 3-1 set win on Sunday to advance into the quarterfinals.
At the Jakarta Sports Complex, Ratnajit Tamang and Dipesh Dhami registered wins in singles’ category, while the pair of Tamang and Dhami also won, which saw the game being over before the fifth set.
In the first match of the men’s singles category, Tamang defeated Pakistan’s Mohammad Irfan Saed Bati on straight sets of 21-12, 21-11, while in the second match, Dhami, giving Nepal the winning continuation, saw off Ajim Sarwar 21-16, 21-10. With the wins, Nepal took a 2-0 aggregate lead.
Meanwhile, in the other singles match, Nepal was upset with the loss of Nabin Shrestha. The game that ran for three sets saw Azam Rijwan beating Shrestha 21-13, 18-21, 15-21. The lead was then 2-1 in Nepal’s favor.
The pair of Dhami and Tamang gave the Nepali team, who led the game 2-1 on aggregate, an important win by defeating the pair of Rijwan and Suleri Kaif Ali 21-17, 17-21, 21-5. This was the first time Nepal defeated Pakistan in the doubles’ category. After the pair of Dhami and Tamang won the match, the pair of Bikash Shrestha and Nabin Shrestha did not have to play further.
However, in the men’s team events played on the same day, Nepal suffered a 3-2 set loss at the hands of Maldives. Even after winning the first two sets, Nepal was deprived of the quarterfinal berth after failing to win the third.
In the first match, Nangsal Tamang had given Nepal a positive start by defeating Abdul Razzak Fati Nabaha 21-17, 21-15, while Jessica Gurung added to the lead with a 15-21, 25-23, 21-17 set win over Abdul Razzak Amina Nabaha in the second match. The lead was 2-0 after two games. But, after Rashila Maharjan lost 22-24, 21-15, 21-16 to Nabib Neela, Maldives got a chance to recover.
And, in the doubles, Nepal lost both the games. In the first match, the pair of Gurung and Tamang lost 21-19, 19-21, 21-17 to Aminath Nabiha and Najeev Neela, while Fatimath Nabaha and Aminath Saharu Naaj beat the pair of Amita Giri and Maharjan on straight sets of 21-13, 21-11.
Nepal head coach Jayant Kumar Shrestha was really excited with the performance of his men’s team. “Pakistan is always a strong competitor against us. We defeated them for the first time in doubles,” Shrestha said, “It is a big achievement to defeat Pakistan’s number one player on straight sets in the singles. This is proof of our improvement.”
The winning men’s team of Nepal will now take on Chinese Taipei on Monday.
The first day of taekwondo did not prove to be a good start for Nepal. At the covered hall of Geneva Convention Center, Nepal made its official participation at the international level of poomsae category. But, after losing all its three games, Nepal could not make a happy start to the game.
In men’s singles of poomsae, Kamal Shrestha was defeated by Chinese Taipei’s Chen Ching on 8.280-7.510 on aggregate, while in the women’s singles, Parbati Gurung succumbed to a 8.100-7.540 score at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s Wenusuan Liyao on 8.100-7.540.
Also, in the women’s team event on Sunday, the Nepali team of Sima Limbu Maden, Nita Gurung and Parbati Gurung lost to the same team. Taipei’s Maftunahon Tolibofa, Marina Kim and Sevara Ismurodova defeated them to ensure the bronze medal. Earlier, the women’s team of Nepal had directly got a chance to play in the quarterfinals getting a walkover from Uzbekistan.
Three Nepali players will take part in taekwondo on Monday. Sagar Gubhaju will vie against Bhutan’s Dorji Tenzing in the last 32 round of 58 kg weight category. Likewise, Nima Gurung will take on Lebanon’s Aoun Letita in women’s 53 kg, while Sangeeta Basyal will play against Philippines’ Apron Bian in U-57 kg weight category. The winners will reach the quarterfinals.
The Nepali fencing team has started the 18th Asian Games with a defeat. At the Jakarta Convention Center’s fencing hall, in women’s category, Kamala Shrestha lost four out of her five games in Group C, while Rabina Thapa lost all her games in Group D.
Shrestha defeated Mongolia’s Arinzaya Yundendog with a whopping 5-0 scoreline in the first match. But, she lost against Hong Kong’s Aou Shin Ying 5-1 in the second, against Vietnam’s Bui Ti Thua 4-5 in the third, against China’s Chiyan Jiyarud 5-0 in the fourth and against Japan’s Tamura Nerika 5-0 in the fifth.
Meanwhile, Thapa could not showcase a satisfying performance. She lost against South Korea’s Yun Jishu, against Iran’s Rafiyi Delkao, against the host Indonesia’s Parmatsari Diya, against Japan’s Fukusima Siyomi and against Combodia’s Che Lin. She could not get a single point in those matches.
Now the women’s team will play on Tuesday. Shrestha and Thapa also have Mina Devi and Ashmita Khadka in their team. Likewise, in the men’s category, Nepal will take part in foil and team events.
Nepal’s Asian Games participation in wrestling ended within few seconds into the game. The team which took three players in Indonesia saw all of them losing their first matches.
In women’s 57 kg freestyle category, Bhagwati Shah was defeated 4-0 within few seconds by Iran’s Reza Atrinagharchi, while in men’s 74 kg freestyle, Suresh Chunara succumbed to a 4-0 defeat against Japan’s Yuhi Fujinami. Also, in men’s 65 kg, Suresh Yadav lost 4-0 against Mongolia’s Batmagnai Batchulun.