NEPAL BARELY PLAYS 50 DIFFERENT SPORTS, BUT HOSTS NEARLY 200 SPORTS ASSOCIATIONS
- Prajwal Oli / The Kathmandu Post, Nepal
In Nepal, a developing nation with a population of nearly 30 million, the sports sector is never a priority. However, the state gives some privileges to registered sports associations through the National Sports Council - government’s main agency - to develop, promote, and regulate the sector. Major sports associations like football, cricket, taekwondo, volleyball barely survive on the annual grant from the government, which is peanuts when compared to their annual budget and activities. However, there are sports which are not played in Nepal but have associations that are registered with the National Sports Council for other interests. Such associations, like throw-ball, curling, tong-il moo-do, roll ball, among others, are based on nepotism and are used as vehicles to travel abroad, enhance social prestige and sometimes even to earn money. Although there are criteria for such associations to fulfill before they are registered, but the yardsticks are often ignored by officials at the Sports Council. For a country that still awaits an Olympic medal, and whose best performance at the Asian Games comprises silver medals in taekwondo and paragliding, sports associations in excess of 200 are a burden, with more than 60 associations registered under Karate alone.