Lately, Nepal has been introduced to a host of different sports events. There was the ACC U-19 Women’s Cricket, and the 6th National Games, AFC Cup, and the ICC qualifying rounds. Some we won and many we lost. But the assuring thing is we have able people to depend on- the future looks bright because the country has produced these sports people. With the well-rounded training and the correct attitude, victory is guaranteed to them.

 

The makings of the next star
Hemant Gurung
By pratik vaidya

 

“I’d mostly compare myself to Xavi because I’d say I have good touch and ability to change the play”. He says it himself. His confidence oozes in his game. The way he dribbles is easy to watch. 17-year-old Hemant Gurung already has the makings of a true footballer. Let’s get to know him better.

Even his hostel in-charge at ANFA Academy (Satdobato), Mr Achyut, has only good things to say about him. “He’s got good discipline. Study-wise I’d say he’s above average”. Hemant is enrolled at Nobel Academy, where he studies Management at the +2 level. All of his friends from ANFA are enrolled there, “We win every inter-college football tournament organized”, he says.

 

Hemant follows a strict routine that has him wake up and go to college before 7am, come back to the hostel and straight to a 2-hour training session till 4 pm. His equipment has to be funded by himself. Other times, the organizers of various tournaments provide the teams with socks, jerseys, etc. The academy has provided gym facilities two times a week. Education is also a priority, as all the kids have study periods before dinner. Togetherness is certainly the key at the academy, where around 60 children are housed. Together they watch almost every football match on the television. “We also get to watch every national game at the stadium. It’s exciting and a lot of fun”, he adds. To add to it, ANFA has built a new wing to house the national team as well. We can be certain that the young generation can learn a lot from such professionals that have made us so proud on the international stage. “Rohit Chand is my favorite”, says Hemant.


The journey has obviously been long for the lad, having gone through intense rounds of local, district and zonal- level selection processes. 5 years have passed since he was first selected through regional selection in his hometown, Pokhara. Out of the 21 that were first selected from there, only two currently remain at the academy. Asked about his inspiration, he plainly says “Barcelona and Spain”. After a smile, he continues “actually, it was my brothers who used to play at the grounds in my neighborhood and I used to tag along.”

 

During his training session, he could be seen as one of the hungriest for the ball. With quick and searching eyes, he plays a killer through pass to his strikers. “That’s what I love to do best. I try to move around as much as I can and play the best ball to the winger or to the striker”, says Hemant. Having participated in many tournaments already, he fondly remembers winning an Under-13 tournament organized in Iran. At the under-16 level, Hemant has participated and played at the SAF Games and the AFC Qualifiers, both held in Nepal. He joyfully remembers his 30-metre strike against Saudi Arabia at the AFC games where he received a standing ovation for the goal. At such a young age, he has also got a wide experience playing in Simla and India as well.

 

The under-17 coach, Bal Gopal Maharjan, adds. “From the kids that I currently have, I’d have to say Hemant is one of the most talented. He has an excellent touch and can run around a lot. His vision is good and I have no complaints about his attitude. He’s an excellent box-to-box midfielder.” He certainly has a bright future and will make his country proud.

 

Undeniably the best
Rubina Chhetri

By: Snigdha Bhatta

 

The captain who won us the ACC U-19 Women’s Championship. She is young, she is shy and bubbly at the same time and she is full of talent.
Yes, I am a girl! Ye

s, I play cricket! Yes, some people give me looks when I’m yelling! But that’s all part of being a player!” 17-year-old Rubina Chhetri is a remarkable young girl whose athletic skills have stupefied the entire country. Sport critics and fanatics are familiar with this name and just recently, she was applauded for her outstanding performance during the ACC U-19 Women’s Twenty20.

Rubina Chhetri is one of those very few bowlers whose skills and tactics have impressed millions and because of that notable and striking talent, Nepal has become the champion, yet again, for the third time! Nepal beat Thailand by six wickets to complete its third consecutive title win in the ACC U-19 Women’s Championship, hosted by Kuwait, on February 8th, 2012. Captain Rubina Chhetri was extraordinary again as she grabbed three wickets and was adjudged man-of-the-match for her all round performance. She was also declared the man-of-the-series.

 

“I am glad to have made Nepal proud and the victory tasted better since the match was won during my captaincy”, says Rubina. Her dream, since childhood, was to become one of the best bowlers and she is happy that she has accomplished that, up to a certain extent. Amidst all the pressure and excitement, Rubina says she is extremely nervous during matches but knows deep within that she needs to do her best. “There is always a tremendous amount of pressure and tension when you are representing your country but when you are in the field, you have to let go off the anxiety and play whole heartedly and use your head”, says Rubina

 

Being a captain is definitely not easy; be it the captain of a sport club, a class or an office - captain’s responsibilities are obviously lot tougher than the others. “Taking up the responsibilities of a captain is very hard and risky but I enjoy it very much nonetheless. The only responsibility of a player is to play well but captains, on the other hand, have to monitor and supervise everything. From choosing players to directing, from teaching everybody the discipline of games to coordinating; captains basically have to look after everything. I have had the opportunity to become a part of an amazing team. I couldn’t be luckier and happier.”

 

Currently studying in the 12th grade, Rubina says it is quite a struggle balancing her sport and study life. “I practice at least 3 hours daily. During summers, practice hours are from 3-7 and 2-6 during winters. Balancing is very tough but I somehow manage it. When I’m out camping, I usually take my books and ask my friends to help me with the notes I’ve missed. One needs to know how to balance and manage time, that’s the key”.

 

A very funny and witty person in real life, Rubina has to portray the role of a “leader” inside the field but she never forgets to add humor to lighten up the stressful mood and environment. She believes that “discipline, moral boost, confidence and respect towards the seniors” are the four most important characteristics any player should have.

 

Young Rubina has a million and one aspirations but for now, she wants to concentrate on her studies and games. She hopes to reach her target and fulfill everybody’s expectations in the days to come.

 

Loving the aquatic life
Sailesh Rana

By: Asmin sitaula

 

By winning ten gold medals in swimming in 6th National Games, shattering a national record on 200m medley in the process, 21-year-old Shailesh Rana raised his haul of swimming medals to 600. 350 of them are gold. “It is a 12 year’s journey”, he said.Rana has dominated his sport like no other.

Shailesh Rana came to Nepal at the age of 5 from Hawaii, USA with his family because his parents thought their children were better raised in Nepal amidst own culture and tradition. He then joined reputed St.Xaviers High School. His schooling years were his initial run up for his final leap on swimming. At the age of 11, he attended Pan Pacific Swimming Championship that was held in Hongkong. “That was the kickstart to my swimming career,” Rana said.Apart from swimming he was also involved in gymnastics and taekwondo. He had won silver medal in Galaxy Cup in Gymnastics. He was a black belt in Taekwondo and had also participated in various competitions.

 

Rana recalls that he was a good student during school and he actively participated in sports day events and dramas.He was fond of English and he despised Maths. There were no special considerations for him by his teachers and friends but he says that when he missed exams during competitions they were generously considered. His alma maters are St.Xavier’s High School, New Summit College and Kathmandu University. He is currently studying at KU school of Fine Arts in the second semester of the course. He plans to continue his studies further and probably take up a job too.

 

When he was 14 years old, he got a serious back injury when platform diving in Rangashala. He was in two months complete bed rest and he could not swim for a whole year.His family has been very supportive about his swimming and has done everything to provide him with excellent resources. His sister Shaila Rana is also a competent swimmer who won 12 medals , among them five golds in 6th National games.This brother-sister duo help each other to excel their skills and practice together.

Swimming was an innate quality in him. When asked what he would be if not a swimmer, he said, ‘ I would not have been anyone else but a swimmer.’

 

His tedious training schedule includes 3 hours of morning and 3 hours of evening trainings in peak hours. This includes both aquatic and non-aquatic training.He says it is very important to be healthy and maintain your body. For that he takes supplements and balanced diet aka daal bhaat tarkari.Listing his achievements: he has participated in World Championship in Italy and China organized in 2009 and 2011 respectively.He has also participated in Short Course Swimming Championship in 2011 held in Dubai. He said “our swimmers lack proper training as there is only 6 months training in Nepal while 12 months training in other countries. We lack warm water pools and infrastructures. Balancing between study and sports is also chaotic.These are some reasons why Nepali swimmers are not successful in international arena.”


His experience at 6th national games was euphoric. He was against competent swimmers who made it exciting and hard for him to outwin them. Looking back at all those years his hardwork has paid off to some extent. He dreams of participating in the olympics and we wish him the best for his future.

 

Faster than Cheetah
Bishwo Rupa Buda

By: Snigdha Bhatta

She was discovered in the 5th National Games and in the recent 6th National Games, she made it clear to everyone why she should be in the spotlight and deserved to be recognized.

 

Born in Jumla; young Bishwo Rupa Buda is a strong athlete who has been living and breathing sports since she was a little kid. When asked what she would like to do if it weren’t for running, she says she literally cannot imagine life without it.

 

Very recently, Miss Buda bagged gold medals in both the 10km and 5km marathon race. She was the only one to bag the gold medal for Midwest and was also declared one of the star players in the 6th National Games. She started taking part in marathons since 2056; when she was just 8 years old. “I have been inspired by my parents and my guru, Hari Bahadur Rokaya. I wouldn’t have been able to come this far without them”, says Bishwo.

 

“I have had to struggle a lot to bag those medals. I practice three hours every day and it is very hard to keep up with my school assignments”, says Bishwo. Currently studying in the 12th standard at Chandanath Higher Secondary School, Jumla. Bishwo finds it very hard to concentrate on studies when there is so much going on in the sports world.

 

“I know I am more drawn towards sports, but my aim is to give continuity to my studies as well as sports and excel in both areas”. Bishwo has never taken sports as a burden. Rather, she would give up anything for it. She loves it for the facts that running is very good for health and brings so much stamina in her. Also, while running, “one gets a sense of freedom, a sense of power and that feeling is very special”, says Bishwo.

 

As a kid, Bishwo was carefree and played because she loved it, now she also has to keep the country’s pride in mind. When faced with such strain and stress, Bishwo thinks about her coach and heeds each and every advice given by her mentors. Bishwo Rupa Buda has made Nepal so proud at such a young age that she says there isn’t a single day that doesn’t go by when she doesn’t dream of running as fast as a cheetah, or faster, even.

 

A Passion for Taking Wickets
Rahul BK
By pratik vaidya

 

Rahul BK is all about cricket. “I love to practice”, he says. “Improving my game, playing with people that are on a superior level and always wanting to win- that is what I live for. And it’s the same with my team-mates. Everyone gels together and we all want the same thing- our ultimate aim is to qualify into Division 2 with the top six teams in the world.” With such desire and talent, no wonder Nepal has been having a glorious few years in cricket.

“The fondest memory I have till date while playing for the national team was when we won the Division 5 tournament in 2010 and gave Nepal its first ever international trophy. The final against USA was especially memorable to me as I took 7 wickets in that game and we won comfortably by 3 wickets after chasing a target of 170 runs”, says Rahul.

 

So what is the young talent doing these days? “Pursuing my studies”, he replies. Currently residing in Butwal, Rahul has enrolled himself at Horizon College and is already in his second year of his 4-year BBS course in management. “But definitely cricket is the most important thing in my life”, he states. “I’ve been training daily with the local kids and my friends. I work on my fitness everyday and go to the gym as well. By the time the training camp for the national team starts, I want to be on top of my game and be ready for a new challenge”.

 

Rahul has been a permanent fixture in the national side since being selected at the district level from Rupandehi more than 5 years ago. Talking about his dedication to the game, he was accused of a suspicious bowling action a few years ago. The governing rule states that any player who is under “suspect” has to report for a biomechanical test in Australia. Rahul irritatingly says that it took him two whole years to resolve the situation. He proved his desire by practicing for the entire duration he was deemed ineligible to play. As a comeback in the Division 5, he helped us win the tournament, including the final match he remembers so fondly. Currently he is the record holder for the most number of wickets taken at an international tournament- 21 to be exact.

 

“There is a severe lack of funding for cricket in Nepal”, he states. “There is so much talent and potential but we are not being able to utilize it fully. The current national players are so good that we can provide a challenge to any team. But we lack proper training. The national team players are together for only a month before tournaments. How can we improve if we are just brought together from time to time? We should be together and training the whole year-round. Only then we can imagine being competitive”

 

Rahul has only good things to say about his team-mates. “Paras Khadga is an excellent leader. Him and Gyanendra Malla are both very promising and have proven they can deliver”. Asked to comment about his captain, he is full of praise “Paras dai is an inspiration on the field and off. He is a very humble person at heart and the amount of support and encouragement he has for all of us is inspirational”.
The new senior coach, Pubudu Bassanayekka, has also impressed him very much. He explains: “I feel he is very advanced. Of course he is different from Roy sir. Every coach has his own style and methods. For me, Pubudu sir has really helped the entire Nepali cricket scenario by bringing in modern software and technological tools. As we all know, cricket has become very technological these days. And he is going to be the one who will guide us effectively in this area.”

 

Undeniably the best
Jamuna Gurung

By pratik vaidya

 

A charming personality, a strong desire to play and a killer eye for goal is what makes Jamuna Gurung, 26, special. She is also the Nepal Women’s football team captain. She started her carrier from U-14 group but was selected for the national team as well (at a very younge age.)Nowadays, her biggest complaint is that the team isn’t getting to play enough games.

We have every facility we could want right here- an excellent ground and all the required equipment. But we don’t have a permanent coach, we are not allowed to step into the ground and there is still no sign of a women’s league”. She worries about the enormous potential that could possibly go untapped in women football in Nepal. “Recently we played a game against the women police team and I’d have to say they were a tough team. Extremely fit- fitter than us, and very good technically as well. But our players were better”, she says with a smile.

 

According to her, being a top-level athlete is difficult. “The most important thing is to stay fit, obviously. And by fit I mean both mentally and physically. You need to train every day, exercise before playing and keep yourself focused in all situations. This becomes vitally important before tournaments and matches because you can’t let anything ruin your game”.

 

And in football, being both a centre-forward and captain is even more difficult. “It’s tough because you’re not really able to see the play as you would like- I’d be more focused on initiating attacks and keeping the other team’s defenders busy”, she explains “I pass my orders through the midfield. Obviously they already have a hard task as they have to run almost the entire length of the field all the time. But my team is very good and very supportive”. Jamuna gives special credit to her strike partner Anu Lama. “I have 17 international goals while Anu has collected 16. It’s very important for any team to score goals.

 

Jamuna stays in a rented flat along with 5 other team-mates just outside the Halchowk barracks. She has training for 3 hours every morning. “But we have to play on the gravel beside the pitch”, she complains “To put it simply, the difference on grass would be that the ground will have more pull on our bodies and we’ll tire sooner than we expected because we have been training on gravel”. She continues by stating that ANFA has taken charge of a lot of things but haven’t provided the expected opportunities. “So far they conduct one women tournament annually. How is that supposed to be enough? The national players hold passes but are not allowed to enter the grounds if we want to watch a match”

 

Recently, the team won the 6th National games held in Mahindranagar. The tournament was contested by 8 teams. “But international tournaments are more intense, obviously”, says Jamuna. “The national team consists of players mostly from APF with the addition of a few selected players from the public. Last year we played in the SAF Championship in Bangladesh.”

 

Talking about her favorite club and country (besides Nepal, of course), she is a supporter of Barcelona and Argentina. So that would make Messi her favorite player. Even if she’s not Messi, Jamuna seems to be just as influential, as she says with a smile “One time my coach put me on the substitutes bench (partly because I was injured) and during the game he was cursing himself for not letting me play.”