Among the people who died in the earthquake in Nepal on April 25 was Jeet Bahadur Khadka, who the was one of the country’s best hopes for a medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics. National Paralympic Committee Nepal (NPCN) President Surendra Bahadur Basnet was given Rs 25,000 for immediate relief by the Nepal Olympic Committee in early May.
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 is in Dubai this 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.”
Basnet then went on to explain some of the issues facing the Paralympic movement in Nepal right now, saying, “The system in Nepal is such that the able athletes are struggling for support so when it comes to Para athletes, one can imagine. We lack basic facilities to train and tours are totally dependant on sponsorships. In short, it is a struggle. After this natural calamity, things are going to get worse of our 300-odd athletes. […] This is the first time we have come under one banner for a discussion and so we are upbeat that something fruitful will come out from this. The main problem according to me is there is lot of disparity. When you are planning to support the sport, then you have to also see how much a country is developed infrastructure-wise and what they need.”