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Curtain falls on 13th South Asian Games

  • Published at 09:59 pm December 10th, 2019
SAG
Bangladesh athletes during the closing ceremony of the South Asian Games in Kathmandu Tuesday Courtesy

Host Nepal was perhaps the happiest of the seven participating countries, as they crossed their target of winning a record 50 gold medals

The 13th South Asian Games in Nepal came to an end with a colorful closing ceremony Tuesday, with most of the participants happy with their medal tallies.

Host Nepal was perhaps the happiest of the seven participating countries, as they crossed their target of winning a record 50 gold medals. 

Nepal capped their gold medal tally with a 2-1 win over Bhutan in the men’s football final Tuesday.

The inside of Dasharath Rangasala Stadium and areas in front of the giant screens outside the Tripureshwar area of Kathmandu were overflowing with people, most of whom were smiling due to the gold in the country’s most popular sport.

The closing ceremony started just after the end of the football final, and participating athletes were seen smiling and taking selfies together before entering the stadium for the official end of the 10-day regional sports extravaganza.

How the participants fared

Thanks to a spectacular performance from the archers, Bangladesh broke its record for most gold medals at a single edition of the Games with 19. 

The previous best of 18 was set in Dhaka 2010. 

The 10 out of 10 gold medals in archery and two out of two golds in cricket this year marks the first two times that Bangladesh has completely swept any sport at the SAG. 

Without sending many of its top athletes and skipping as many as five sports, India topped the medal tally as they do in every edition. 

They were followed by Nepal, who took full advantage of the home conditions to return to second in the table after 20 years. 

Sri Lanka could not meet its gold medal target but still finished third in the tally. 

They were followed by Pakistan, who left some big names at home and missed out on the top three for the first time in the 35-year history of the SAG.

Maldives bagged its first ever gold in the Games in athletics, while Bhutan ended up as the only country without a gold. 

Although Bhutan has only won one gold medal in the history of the Games, in 1999, they managed to increase their number of silver medals.

Lessons from the host

Hosting the Games after 20 years, Nepal managed to avoid much in the way of hassle. 

They provided sufficient logistical support and village-less accommodation to more than 5,000 official visitors, including 2,715 athletes, and prepared unfinished venues in time for 26 disciplines in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Janakpur. 

That they managed to do so only four years after a devastating earthquake is a feat in itself.

Bangladesh also has much to learn from the host regarding their meteoric rise in number of gold medals. 

According to Kathmandu Post, National Sports Council of Nepal member secretary Ramesh Kumar Silwal said they had sent the athletes of 21 sports overseas, for training under quality coaches at advanced facilities and consultation with experts on nutrition. 

Few Bangladeshi athletes were afforded the same opportunities.