March 30, Kathmandu. Most sports activities came to a standstill in the first six months of 2078 BS due to the Corona pandemic.
At the end of the year, nearly two years after the Games began, players from all sports were engaged in domestic competitions. Players made full use of their time to make Nepalese sports year 2078 memorable.
Some players have brought laurels to the country in international competitions. Some players were famous for their off-field activities. Some records were made, some were broken.
8 players in headlines this year, 2078.
Prince Dahal, Badminton
This year has been a proud moment for junior badminton player Prince Dahal and Nepalese players. Prince reached the top of the junior rankings released by World Badminton in January 2022. This is the highest ranking and success of Nepalese players in singles.
18-year-old Prince was at number three in 2021. Junior Nepal has also reached eighth place in Prince Senior. In Phagun, Pushplal Smriti won the title of national badminton, senior badminton competition and other domestic competitions.
Having risen to the top of the international rankings, he has been sponsored by the badminton sports equipment company Yonex Sunrise.
Sandeep Lamichhane, Cricket
Rising as the global ambassador of Nepalese cricket, Sandeep Lamichhane is one of the most talked about players of the year. This year is a crucial time in Sandeep’s career. He became the captain of the Nepalese national cricket team at the age of 21.
Sandeep has crossed the 50-wicket mark in T20 and ODI this year. He crossed the milestone after taking a wicket against Ireland in the four-nation T20I series in Oman at Phagun. Sandeep has taken 73 wickets in T20 Internationals.
After taking a wicket in the second match of the series against Papua New Guinea at Chait’s TRI ground, Sandeep has also completed 50 wickets in ODIs.
As a result of the player and CAN controversy, he has been given the responsibility as the new captain of the national team.
The defeat in the semi-finals of the ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifier was the first setback of Sandeep’s captaincy career. This is Sandeep’s first title as captain of the Malaysia and PNG T20 series held in Chait.
Kushal Bhurtel, Cricket
The same year when he made his T20 International debut, Kushal Bhurtel continued to set one record after another. Kushal’s performance in International Twenty20 remained the same throughout the year. He has created a new record in the history of T20 International by completing 500 runs in 12 innings.
Kushal, who made his debut in a tri-series involving Netherlands and Malaysia in April, scored four consecutive fifties in the same series. He has scored 5 fifties and a century so far.
He scored an unbeaten 104 against the Philippines in the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Oman. He is the third player after Paras Khadka and Gyanendra Malla to score a century in T20 Internationals.
Aruna Shahi, Volleyball
Captain Aruna Shahi played a key role in helping Nepal win their second consecutive title in the Asian Central Zone Volleyball this year. Under the leadership of 26-year-old setter Aruna, Nepal won the Asian level competition for the first time two years ago.
Under his captaincy, New Diamond Academy won the NVA Club Championship held in September. She won the Manoranjan Sharma Award for Best Female Player of the Year-2078.
Pushpa Bhandari, Athletics
Salyan’s Pushpa Bhandari, who won a gold medal in the Dhaka Marathon held in Bangladesh last year, won a bronze medal in this edition of the same competition. Pushpa, who holds the record for winning the first gold in the international marathon, could not defend her title this time despite improving her timing.
Pushpa, who completed the marathon distance in two hours 55 minutes 35 seconds, is a silver medalist in the 13th South Asian Games held in Nepal two years ago. She set a national record in the women’s marathon with a timing of 2 hours 50 minutes 11 seconds.
Pushpa received a special award as the Performer of the Year at the Pulsar Sports Awards held in Chait. An APF club player, he has been doing well in middle distance competitions including the domestic half marathon.
Kiran Chemjong, football
When the Nepalese national team reached the final of the SAAF Championship for the first time, Kiran Chemjong’s leadership role and goalkeeping skills were discussed.
He is called the ‘Great Wall’ of Nepalese football. His excellent goal-scoring ability is talked about not only in Nepal but also in the South Asian region.
Under his captaincy, Nepal crossed the second stage of the Asian Cup qualifiers and entered the third stage. Kiran, a successful national team captain, has a similar influence in club football.
He was also instrumental in making Dhangarhi FC the runners-up in the Nepal Super League held in April.
Gyanendra Malla, Cricket
The Nepalese cricket team was the busiest in the year 2078. The players were engaged in 30 sports and domestic competitions including T20 and One Day Internationals. For the first time in Nepal’s cricket, a heated dispute between the Cricket Association (CAN) and the players came to the surface. The then captain Gyanendra Malla was the leader on behalf of the players.
Events off the field have brought Gyanendra into the limelight. Captain Gyanendra and vice-captain Deepender Singh Airy can be stripped of their positions on charges of dissatisfaction with the player classification. It was decided to keep Kamal Singh Airi and Sompal Kami out of central contracts for six months.
Citing strong opposition from supporters and the upcoming international competition, CAN backtracked on its decision to leave the central contract. But the action against the Captain/Vice-Captain remained intact.
Palesha Govardhan, Mercury Taekwondo
Taekwondo has done exceptionally well at Mercury Games this year. 19-year-old Palesha Govardhan missed out on a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics. She broke the Olympic record by winning two games and lost to a Chinese athlete in the rematch bronze medal match. Earlier, she has defeated American and Serbian players.
Two months after returning from the Olympics, Para won a gold medal in the K-44 category at the Asian Para Youth Games. This is the largest medal won by a Nepalese player in an official Asian level competition.
In Mercury Taekwondo, athletes who have at least one arm below the elbow compete in K-44. In the Under 57kg category, Palesha won the gold medal by defeating Roza Ibrahim of Iran.
Ranked ninth in the world, Palesha has decided to compete in the upcoming Asian Games on the basis of rank.