Sports in disarray after devastating Nepal earthquakes

A revered national sports coach is among the thousands of dead, trapped in his rented house when devastating earthquakes rocked Nepal.

Sports in disarray after devastating Nepal earthquakes

Kathmandu: A revered national sports coach is among the thousands of dead, trapped in his rented house when devastating earthquakes rocked Nepal.

The main football stadium was damaged, before becoming a makeshift refuge for displaced survivors of the quakes. The national cricket team's preparations for a major international tournament next are in disarray.

The Asian weightlifting championships, scheduled for Kathmandu in July, are destined to be held somewhere else. The two recent earthquakes killed more than 8,300 people, and have had a devastating impact on all aspects of life in Nepal, including sports.

Nepal Volleyball Association general secretary Jeetendra Bahadur Chand said coach Keshav Lal Shrestha's death in Kathmandu was "irreparable." "He was a dedicated and experienced coach," Chand said of Shrestha, who played in the 1982 Asian Games at New Delhi and was coaching for almost 30 years. "He was a dedicated and experienced coach whose demise is a great loss for sports in Nepal."

Shrestha was among eight people associated with sports who were killed in the quakes, according to the National Sports Council's Deepak Bista, the member secretary of the players' welfare fund.

Paralympian Jeet Bahadur Khadka and prominent sports writer Suman Bhomjan are among those to have died. The small but resilient national sports fraternity is determined to get things back on track.

Pubundu Dassanayake is trying to prepare for the national cricket team for qualifiers for the World Twenty20 tournament. "We're not going to give up," he said. "The tournament is vital for the future of Nepal's cricket and we plan to go to India for preparations."

Nepal qualified for the last World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in 2014 and is due to participate in the July 9-26 qualifying competition in Ireland and Scotland, hoping to secure a spot at the 2016 edition in India.

"None of our players are harmed physically but they have suffered mental scars just like any other person," said Dassanayake, a former Sri Lanka test wicketkeeper who has been coaching in Nepal since 2011. "A good performance by the cricketers will boost the morale of the country."

The quakes caused major damage to civic structures and heritage sites, and the scars are evident on sports venues, too. The Tribhuvan University ground's indoor cricket facility has sustained obvious damage, while the walls surrounding the Dasharath Stadium, which hosted the recent World Cup football qualifier against India, have collapsed.

Both venues are being used as shelters for people displaced by the earthquake.

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