One of the greatest moment in Nepalese sports history is Bidhan Lama winning bronze medal in Taekwondo at the Seoul Olympics, 1988. In the first round, Lama knocked out British fighter Ebenezer Ghansahe with a wheel kick in one of the greatest moment for Nepalese Taekwondo in the Olympics. Twenty-nine years since our last and lone medal, we are currently finding ourselves in crisis of who runs the Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC), an organization that is supposed to bring the Olympic movement to Nepal.
NOC is currently in turmoil as there are two presidents vying for a single entity of the presidential berth. Jeevan Ram Shrestha is the current president of NOC after getting elected in 2015. Shrestha blames the government for unnecessary intervention as there is only one NOC under the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) banner.However, in 2010, the Supreme Court had reinstated Rukma Shumsher Rana as its president over their dispute of 2007 elections.
The 2007 elections were considered illegitimate by Rana when at that time Dhurba Bahadur Pradhan was elected president of NOC. Pradhan served two terms until 2015. Current president Shrestha claims an agreement was made after him getting elected in 2015 where eight members of the Rana-led committee were supposed to join NOC with five being in the executive body. However, Rana says, “We didn’t have any such deals. We had just agreed on working together.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCS) recognize the current NOC led by Shrestha as their member affiliate. They consider the Rana led committee as a ‘parallel body’ which must be ‘ceased’ according to the letter sent by them to the NOC The recent padlocking that is going on just sets a bad example of an organization that is supposed to represent Nepal in an international level. “There are high chances that NOC’s membership will be suspended by the IOC. If the government does not take its decision back and keep interfering in the activities of NOC, we will be banned,” shared Jeevan Ram Shrestha.
The level of administrative work has also dropped since this turmoil began as government recognized Rana led committee entered the NOC building on 21st March with the help of security forces. The Ministry of Defense wrote to its department to implement the Supreme Court’s decision of five years ago. This has been going back and forth between the Shrestha and Rana on who leads the NOC Although there has been call from dialogue from both sides which is included in the letter from the IOC and OCS, it is unclear how long will take for that to happen?
This kind of turmoil is familiar in almost every sector of the country. Particularly in this case there are a couple of factors that need to be observed such as do we follow the Supreme Court’s decision or recognize the IOC’s member affiliate. A dialogue is necessary between the government, Rana and Shrestha to clear this game of cat and mouse which plays a pivotal role in the development of sports in Nepal. Until this is not cleared, we won’t get another moment like we got when Bidhan Lama won bronze at 1988 Seoul Olympics.