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Looking beyond satisfaction of participation

world Updated: Aug 15, 2012 22:55 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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Now that the 'friendly games' of London 2012 are over, it's time to take stock for most countries on sporting glories they achieved and the goals they need to set for Rio 2016 and beyond.

Like past several Olympics, Nepal returned empty handed this time as well. Apart from the lone bronze in Seoul when taekwondo was an exhibition sport, the country is yet to win an official medal at the games.

The country where football is the most popular sport made its first Olympic entry in 1964 and till date has participated in 12 summer games and three winter games.

Five athletes participated in London - two in swimming, two in athletics and one in shooting. Two of them managed to better their personal best marks and one set a new national record.

Winning medals at the biggest sporting stage is not easy and one example is Nepal's neighbour India who, despite its population and growing economic might, managed to bag only six in London.

And it doesn't help when there's lack of infrastructure, money and coaching avenues. More so when there are two rival Olympic committees in the country working at cross purposes.

During its nearly 50-year association with the games, Nepal seems to have taken the saying of Pierre De Coubertin, father of modern Olympics, about how participation is more important than winning, very seriously.

Last week, speaking at a function, Nepal's most decorated marathon runner Baikuntha Manandhar stated that if such lack of focus on sports continues, Nepal would not get an Olympic medal in the next 50 years.

But instead of painting a gloomy picture, Nepal needs to learn lessons from London. One example could be Erick Barrondo, the Guatemalan who surprised all by winning silver in the men's 20-km walk - his country's first Olympic medal.

Like Nepal, the small Central American nation is beset with many problems. But instead of focussing on them or his poverty, the 21-year-old kept busy with training and triumphed.

With similar dedication and a bit of government and corporate push, Nepalese can also hope to write sporting history.