Don't expect Olympic medal for next 50 yrs: Manandhar
KATHMANDU, Aug 10: A week after Nepal´s Olympics participation in London ended with just a single national record, veteran athlete and South Asian record holder Baikuntha Manandhar said Nepal may not be able to win any medals in Olympics in the next 50 years if the existing training methods continue.
Speaking at the inaugural program of Sports Speech Series organized by Nepal Sports Foundation, Manandhar, while reminiscing about his glory days, lamented over poor infrastructures and the lack of proper training and nutrition for Nepali athletes.
"When Sharad Chandra Shah was the member secretary of National Sports Council, we were provided regular and systematic trainings as well as proper diet. The athletes back then had set various national records," said Manandhar. "After the restoration of democracy in 1990, athletes had believed that the sports sector would fare better. But all the political parties are busy recruiting their cadres in the sporting arena," he added.
Manandhar said that he succeeded in the South Asian Games because he had dedicated his life to sports. "Players should dedicate their life to achieve success," said Manandhar.
He argued that there are problems in the current training system and diets provided to athletes. "My seniors like Ganga Bahadur Thapa and Bhupendra Silwal used run bare foot. We also didn´t have many facilities but the records we set in our time still hold," said Manandhar. "Training matured players would not help. We should look for young schoolchildren if we want to prepare athletes who can earn glories in future," he added.
"It has been 25 years since I set the marathon record but no athlete is near to it till now. This provides the real picture of how our sports sector is developing," said Manandhar. Manandhar´s South Asian marathon record of 2 hours 15.03 minutes set during the Third South Asian Games in Kolkata in 1987 still remains unchallenged.
"In absence of a long term and systematic training program, we can´t expect success," said Manandhar.
He asked sports authorities of the country to introduce result-based system while allocating responsibilities to coaches. "Coaches should be given certain targets and if they fail to deliver, they should be sacked," said Manandhar.
He asked government to allocate more budgets for the sports sector. "The allocated budgets are only enough for paying salaries. Meanwhile, the lack of transparency has forced the private sector away from supporting the sector," said Manandhar.
Manandhar asked political parties to spare politicization of sports and appoint players in the responsible positions in the sports bodies.