President Running Shield expects to encourage more children toward sports

Kathmandu, Apr. 12: The National Sports Council (NSC) has almost completed the necessary preparations for the 14th President Running Shield, the biggest sports event for the junior category. The event is taking place in the capital city of Kathmandu from April 16 to 18.

After completing the selections of children aged below 18 years old at the local, district and provincial levels, 686 athletes will be representing seven provinces and compete for the trophy shield and medals in six different sporting events.

Making public the preparations for the 14th edition of the tournament, NSC member-secretary Tanka Lal Ghising also unveiled the new trophy shield and medals at a programme organised in the Council’s building on Thursday.

Since Lumbini Province won the last three editions of the competition, the province was allowed to keep the trophy shield permanently. According to the Council, each province will have a team of 115 members, of which 98 are athletes and the remaining are coaches.

“The athletes and coaches participating in the event will be provided allowances under two categories – daily and transportation. We have also managed snacks for the participants during the competition so that the children would not spend money out of their pocket,” said Ghising. According to the Council, the tournament will feature six events – athletics, volleyball, kabaddi, wushu, taekwondo and karate – and the participants will compete for 66 gold medals in total.

“There will be 13 gold medals each for boys and girls in athletics. Similarly, boys and girls will compete for six gold medals each in karate, taekwondo and wushu. There is a gold medal each for boys and girls in volleyball and kabaddi,” read a statement by the NSC.

The Council has allocated over Rs. 1.1 million for cash prizes to the winners. “We will provide Rs. 5,000, Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 3,000 to the gold, silver and bronze medallists in individual categories respectively. In group categories, Rs. 2,500, Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 1,500 will be provided to the gold, silver and bronze medallists respectively,” the Council informed.

Earlier, Rs. 3,000, Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 1,000 were provided to the top three medallists in individual categories. “We plan to increase the cash prize next year as well alongside coordinating with the higher authorities to increase the number of sporting events in the tournament,” said Ghising.

The NSC has allocated Rs. 15 million for the event.

Nevertheless, with the tournament inaugurated by President Ramchandra Paudel on April 4, athletic events will be organised in Dasharath Rangasala, volleyball in NSC’s Covered Hall, kabaddi in the Lainchaur-based National Table Tennis Training Centre, karate and taekwondo in the Satdobato-based Karate and Taekwondo Halls and wushu at the Tripureshwor-based Semi Covered Hall. The Council has expected good support from the public in making the event more extravagant.

Great for grassroots

According to Ghising, the President Running Shield has been a step to encourage children towards sports. 

“Schools participate in the tournament’s initial phase. The best ones then get chosen for the local, district and provincial-level selections before getting a chance to represent the respective province in the central tournament,” said Ghising.

“We have seen the importance put by local levels and provinces in choosing the best athletes/players for the tournament. We have also come across a craze towards sports by children and their parents,” Ghising added.

Nevertheless, the NSC agreed that more needs to be done. “We have not been able to allocate enough budget to produce good athletes. However, we will continue supporting new and talented youngsters with the available resources,” Ghising stated.

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