National Sports Council Vice-President Pitambar Timsina (right) speaks as Nepal Olympic Committee President Jeevan Ram Shrestha (center) and Ministry of Youth and Sports Secretary Krishna Prakash Devkota looks on during a press meet in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Photo Courtesy: NSC
KATHMANDU, March 6: The Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) has rescheduled the date for the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) for the third time.
Organizing a press meet in Kathmandu on Tuesday, the NOC announced that the 13th edition of SAG will be organized in December this year.
NOC President Jeevan Ram Shrestha, who is also the President of the South Asian Olympic Council, informed that the decision was made at a meeting regarding the organization of the games.
Earlier, the NOC had postponed the date twice. The committee has fixed the new dates for December 1 to 10.
During the concluding ceremony of the 12th SAG organized by Indian cities Guwahati and Shillong, Nepal was given the opportunity to organize the 13th edition of the games.
Nepal had asked for a new date to organize the SAG -- March 2019 -- at a meeting of the South Asian Olympic Council held in Kathmandu in December 2016.
The council meeting gave permission to organize the SAG as requested because reconstruction works of the country's sport infrastructure following damages caused by 2015 earthquake were not complete. The meeting had given permission to Nepal to organize the SAG from March 9 to 18 this year.
Nepal again asked to postpone the games for the second time, showing the lack of physical infrastructure, which the council accepted.
The preparatory committee for the games led by Minister for Youth and Sports Jagat Bahadur Bishwokarma had said in December that the country was capable to organize the SAG this time.
In the council’s meeting held on March 1 in Thailand, Nepal postponed the SAG yet again for the third time.
In the press meet, Secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports Krishna Prakash Devkota expressed his confidence that the games will be played on the rescheduled dates, as they had moved ahead on construction of various sports facilities needed for the games.
"We have already handed over the construction of the Dasarath Stadium to China as the tournament will start from there," Secretary Devkota said.
"There should not be any doubt about the December dates, as we have reviewed various construction works going on in different provinces," he added.
National Sports Council’s Vice-President Pitambar Timsina claimed that the construction works would be completed promptly as hosting the tournament was a matter of pride for the country.
"Some sub-committees have been formed for the 13th SAG. We will form some other committees as well to facilitate the games. Everyone is committed to organize the 13th SAG within the new timeline," Timsina said.