Differently-abled athletes defy odds as they train hard for Para Olympics
KATHMANDU, Aug 19: As the much awaited Para Olympics for differently-abled players approaches, Bikram Bahadur Rana and Maiya Bishankhe can be seen training with lots of zeal. Neither the unpredictable weather of Kathmandu nor the frequent bandas have affected their training.
Despite their praise-worthy enthusiasm for training, their participation in the Para Olympics, to begin from August 29 in London, is still uncertain.
Though they have been undergoing training for more than three months, they have not received any facilities from stakeholders. Unlike their able counterparts, they have not got any special diets. Rana, who stays in Bansbari, and Bishanke, who comes from Naxal, commute between home and the Dasharath Stadium, where they train, on foot.
They also do not have proper shoes, clothes and jerseys to wear during the Olympics. But none of these factors have lessened their determination.
Though two Para Olympic Committees are in existence in Nepal, none have been able to confirm the schedules.
"Their participation is sure, but it is yet to be decided when they would leave for the Olympics," said Surendra Basnet, president of the internationally recognized Para Olympic Committee. "As we have not received any support from governmental agencies we are preparing to send them on our own. “We get certain amount from abroad for the participation in such events."
Basnet also said that he was unaware about lack of proper diets for players. "I have received no such complaints so far. I came to know about this from the media."
Coach Lila Shrestha with Bikram Rana and Maiya Bishankhe, from left to right. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
Meanwhile, Deepak Koirala, president of the government recognized committee, said that he has no real information about the Olympics as the committee headed by him has no role in the international events.
Rana and Bishankhe got wild card entry for the Para Olympics on the basis of their performance during Guangzhou Asian Games. Seven para-athletes from Nepal had competed in the Guangzhou Asian Games.
Bikram Rana shall compete in the 100 m T level which features fully visually impaired athletes. Rana, a staffer of the Nepal Army had lost both his eyes during the decade-long Maoist insurgency at Gurje Bhanjyang of Nuwakot some eight years back. Rana was one of the victims of a bomb explosion during an ambush laid by Maoist. Rana is being coached by Lila Shreshta.
Rana had clocked 12.85 seconds in Guangzhou Asian Games held in 2010 and finished ninth among 32 runners. Rana´s current timing for the distance is 12.38 seconds. Rana is aware that he must finish the race in 11.03 seconds to win medal.
"It is difficult to train differently-abled athletes than to train normal athletes," coach Shrestha said.
Rana is also the vice-captain of Nepal Blind Cricket Association. He has also been included in the list of probable players for Blind Cricket World Cup to be held in Bangalore, India in November.
Maiya Bishankhe will compete in the 100 m T-46. Athletes having problems in their hands compete in the event. Bishankhe was born without a right hand.
Bishankhe, 19, originally from Jhapa has been staying at the SOS Balgram in Jorpati. She had competed in 200 m race in Guangzhou, completing the distance in 36 seconds. Bishankhe has a personal timing of 18.01 second for 100 m during training.
Bishankhe who is perusing higher education at National Integrated College (NIC), has been involved in the sprint after competing in the School-level Para Athlete Championship some five years back. Bishankhe too is training under Lila Shrestha.