With Nepal still facing large aftershocks following the April 25 earthquake in the country, National Physical Disabled Table Tennis Association is working to assist its players and their community in recovery efforts.
Among the activities the organization is doing is organizing opportunities for children to play at sports, with an emphasis on table tennis, as a way of helping them relieve stress. Members of their organization have also been coordinating with SOS Children’s Village Nepal to serve water to children who have been impacted by these earthquakes.
Beyond trying to assist others, the organization has its own internal issues to deal with. Their training hall was damaged by the 7.4 on the Richter scale quake. This has made it difficult for the organization to continue their regularly scheduled training sessions. Efforts are currently underway to save the facility, but they are unsure if this is presently a feasible option.
Outside of table tennis, the Nepal disability sport community is dealing with the loss of Jeet Bahadur Khadka, a track and field competitor, who died as a result of the earthquake. In 2014, Khadka was ranked the 83rd best athlete in the world in the Men’s 100 m T47 event, and competed at least year’s Asian Para Games where he was asked to step in as a guide for Nepal’s other representative at the Games, Bikram Bahadur Rana. Khadka also competed at the 2010 Asian Para Games. He was missing his hand from below the elbow, and had been an advocate inside Nepal for improved funding for disability sport athletes.
NPCN’s Basnet was in Dubai last week for the Asian Paralympic Committee meeting. While there, he was quoted by Gulf News yesterday as saying of Jeet Bahadur Khadka passing, “The scale of the tragedy is beyond imagination and it will take years for us to get our lives together. I just can’t forget Jeet’s face; he was our first para athlete and medal hope and it is a huge loss for us but what can be done, as in front of nature we all are helpless.”
Nepal has competed at only three Paralympic games: 2004, 2008 and 2012. They have never sent a table tennis competitors, only track and field athletes who have yet to win a medal. Nepalese table tennis players were represented at the recently completed 2014 Para Asian Games. Presently, none of the country’s table tennis players are ranked internationally.