Wednesday, December 2

Most Popular Sports in Nepal

People in Nepal have been following a variety of sports for a long time now. However, initially sports in Nepal were taken as only a medium of entertainment but now sports are not only a medium of entertainment but valued as a profession as well.

Football, Cricket, Swimming, Dandi Biyo, Kho Kho, Kabaddi, Tennis, Martial Arts, Boxing, Running, Weightlifting, Basketball, Badminton, Golf, etc. are some of the most common sports which people follow. In recent days, the importance and appreciation for sports in Nepal has increased, adding to Nepal’s identity.

Cricket

Cricket was only a so-called high-class sport during the Rana period. Only the high officials and members of the Royal family used to play cricket. But with the dawn of Democracy, everything changed. Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) was first formed in 1946 A.D to promote cricket amongst so-called high-class people but cricket spread to the majority of the populace following the revolution of 1951.

In1961, the Cricket Association of Nepal became part of the National Sports Council in an attempt to encourage cricket throughout Nepal. The interest of the local population in cricket steadily grew, and the appetite for playing was such that limitations had to be imposed on the number of teams in some tournaments before more facilities could be constructed in the mid-1990s. In 1996, Nepal became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council, the year in which the national team participated for the first time in the 1996 ACC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur.

Nepal men’s team has played in the following competitions :

ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2001 and 2018, ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers 2012, 2013 and 2015, ICC Intercontinental Cup 2004 and 2005, ACC Fast Track Countries Competition 2004, 2005 and 2006, ACC Twenty20 Cup 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, Asian Games the 2010 and 2014, ACC Premier League 2014

In women’s team, the tournament are very less and they are limited to Asian qualifiers which comes once in two years.

The first time Nepal claimed One Day International (ODI) status was on 15 March 2018. Nepal now has the status of an ODI nation for 5 years. All these tournaments and achievements have bloomed in the cricket craze from East to West. The cricket of Nepal become more popular when a spinner Sandip Lamichhane selected in IPL 2018 from the Delhi
Daredevils. Former captain Paras Khadka has been involved in the T10 league in Abu Dhabi. Teammate Sompal Kami also has been involved in a cricketing league outside of Nepal.

In Nepal, Dhangadhi Premier League, Everest Premier League, and Pokhara Premier League have given opportunities to players who want to play for the nation. For women, the Women’s Champions League is the only franchise league. These domestic leagues have given local players the experience of playing with the international players and coaches. With the availability of TV channels and the Internet as time passed, the interest in cricket has increased even more. The craze in cricket in Nepal is at its peak currently comparing with the past but Nepal still has a long way to go.

Football

Bimal Rohit and Anjan

Football entered Nepal in 1921 during the Rana regime. Teams were founded in 1934, such as Mahabir-11, NRT-11, Jawalakhel-11, Public Institute-11, etc. In the same year, a football competition was conducted in an institutional fashion for the first time, in which 12 teams played.

Football in Nepal experienced many ups and downs since then until Dasarath Stadium was constructed and football matches were played there regularly. In 1959, a memorable football match between the King-11 and Prime Minister-11 teams, held at Dasarath Stadium, was a charity match. Late King Mahendra had played in the King-11 squad in that match and then-first-elected Prime Minister B. P. Koirala played for Team Prime Minister-11.

In South Asian tournaments, Nepal has been a big competitor but with very little success stories. Nepal has been however a much smaller and less competitive national team on the Asian football stage, having never qualified for the AFC Asian Cup and also fallen short of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup.

Being one of the most-watched and played sports in Nepal, ANFA is responsible for organizing domestic cups of various age groups. Each year ANFA organizes these events from district level to zonal level and local players get recognition and experience. Since these games are played in different parts of the country, the popularity of the sport is unmatched like other sports in Nepal.

Similarly, with the games either being televised or streamed live on the internet, people don’t want to miss any match. The craze of football has increased with time and like cricket, it’s yet to reach its peak.

Volleyball

Volleyball is the national sport of Nepal. In all parts of the country, including the hills, the Himalayas, and the Terai regions, it is a popular sport in Nepal. What is known is that volleyball was smuggled from England into Nepal in 1933/4, with the conduits being Nepalis who were in the British Army.

In 1942, at the neighborhood level, Tri-Chandra College students first played volleyball. In a book published after the first National Games in1982, this was later stated. Nepal was a participant in an international competition for the first time in 1976 and made appearances in China and Russia the very next year, followed by its debut.

The craze of volleyball might not be the same as cricket or football but it certainly attracts attention when Nepal plays an international match. Volleyball can be played in a small space hence different competitions are organized at school levels. Like the inter-school volleyball competition, inter-college volleyball competition, various volleyball cups are also coordinated.

The government of Nepal has not concentrated on volleyball much but the interest in the game hasn’t gone down. The game is fascinating and young people have great eagerness and excitement to play this game in all parts of the country.

Martial Arts

Nepal is home to some of the world’s finest methods for self-defense. Martial Arts is performed by Nepalis of various divisions and classes with their variants. It may be used for political war, self-defense, tournaments, or entertainment purposes. Much of the martial arts are connected to Asian warfare and have variants of various forms common all over the world. In Nepal, martial arts are a growing and popular sport.

For learners who want to learn and for their martial art abilities to develop, the organization provides the required environment. Some popular martial arts variants performed in Nepal are Taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, Martial Arts, Judo, and Gurkha Kukri Martial Arts. The success in the international arena in Taekwando and Karate has helped a lot in the development of the game. Star names like Deepak Bista, Ayasha Shakya, Deepak Shrestha, and Sangina Baidhya are inspirations to many.

One of the growing interests in Martial Arts has always been that training in martial arts helps to provide trainees with many advantages, such as their physical, social, emotional, and spiritual fitness

Swimming

The Nepal Swimming Association (NSA) is Nepal’s governing body for sport and is affiliated with the Sports Council of Nepal. The name that shines the brightest among the others when it comes to swimming in Nepal is Gaurika Singh. Her national and international record-shattering results have given Nepal a swimming future nobody imagined of.

The beauty of this sport is that it has different styles. The most important styles recognized globally are as follows: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle. National and global record-shattering performances have given Nepal the hope of a bright future for swimming and the popularity has increased like no other time.

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