Minister for Youth and Sports Daljit Shreepali (L) felicitates runner Mira Rai at Ministry of Youth and Sports at Singha Durbar, Kathmandu on Friday. (Bijay Gajmer/ Republica)
KATHMANDU, Nov 18: Ministry for Youth and Sports (MoYS) has provided Rs 500,000 to record holder ultra runner Mira Rai for her knee treatment. Minister of Youth and Sports Daljit Sripali and Joint Secretary of the Ministry Choodamani Poudel handed over the amount to Mira amid a program at Ministry premises on Friday.
Minister Sripali said that the support was extended to motivate Mira in her sporting career. She is currently in bed rest since picking knee injury during an ultra race in England eight months ago.
Mira, who won Mont-Blanc 80 km race held in France in June last year clocking 12 hours 31 minutes 12 seconds, was in Italy for treatment before returning home. Mont-Blanc is one of the toughest ultra races of Europe.
Mira said that through government support, many from villages across the country could become successful players like herself. “I had never thought about being an ultra runner. I started running upon my friends’ request. But later it became my identity,” said Mira.
“Ultra race is very tough sports, but if the government helps players, it can bring international medals. I wish players from new generation will follow my path. But the government should also create environment for it,” Mira also said that the help she got from government on Friday has motivated her.
Mira was declared a disqualified Maoist combatant during Army integration. Her career took new twist towards ultra running just when she was preparing to leave for foreign employment. Although she had taken karate training from coach Dhurba Bikram Malla, she chose ultra run that eventually gave her one success after another.
Minister Sripali admitted that every Nepali feels proud while listening to Mira’s story. “Mira’s success has shown the need to amend the meaning of disqualified. Government declared her as disqualified but she made the nation proud at the international stage,” he said.
Stating that her playing career started from PLA (People Liberation Army) Sports Club, the minister said, “We can learn lessons from Mira’s life. We respect her hard work and success. Government should respect and recognize talents like her. This felicitation is not that big. We just provided financial help in order to assist her treatment,” added Minister Sripali.
Adding one more success in ultra run, Mira had won women’s 50 km event in Sky Running Championship held in Hong Kong. She had finished sixth among 352 participants. Beside this championship, she has won half dozen of international ultra races.
Joint Secretary at the Ministry Poudel stated that the government should bear all the treatment expenses of Mira. “The whole country is proud of Mira. The state needs to respect and take care of Mira,” said Poudel. Meanwhile, Minister Sripali also feted coach Dhurba Bikram Malla on the same occasion.
Training center to be named after Mira
Minister Sripali also said that the government is planning to set up a high altitude training center and name it after Mira. He further informed that the government was looking for a suitable place to set up the training center.
“There are talents like Mira in different parts of our country. Now onward, the state will start scouting such talents by establishing training centers,” said Minister Sripali.
Joint Secretary Poudel stressed on formulating the plans for the development of traditional sports of the country. “We have invested heavily on imported sports but there is chance of winning medal in our traditional sport. So, if we invest on traditional sports we don’t have to wait for international medals,” said Poudel.
Mira’s plea for votes
Mira has been nominated in the people’s choice award section of the Adventurer of the Year 2017 by National Geographic channel. She asked to vote for her through Facebook. “I have made big achievements in ultra running. This time, I have been nominated for award so I would like to request everyone to vote for me,” said Mira. She has been nominated among ten sports persons of adventure sports.