Kathmandu, May 12
At a time when the sporting activities have been completely suspended due to the nationwide lockdown, the athletes have found a new way to set examples in the society — extending helping hands to feed the poor.
The lockdown, imposed by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic, is making life terribly difficult for the poor people, especially the daily-wage earners and contract-based workers. As the local authorities have not been able to feed the hungry people, the athletes have come forward to their rescue at various places — from their wallet and also with the help of different individuals and organisations.
On Tuesday, Olympian Deepak Bista and fellow taekwondo player and his wife, Ayasha Shakya — the double gold medal winner of the 13th South Asian Games — distributed relief materials to an orphanage, Naya Nepal Samaj Kendra, in Baneshwor. The couple handed over 10 sacks of rice and two sacks of bitten rice along with salt, oil, sugar, tea, noodles and biscuits among others, to the founder president of the Centre, Krishna Raj Gurung.
According to Gurung, a total of 55 children are taking shelter in the Centre. National cricket team coach Jagat Tamatta, Bagmati Province MP Ganesh Prasad Dulal and Kathmandu Ward No 31 Narayan Prasad Bhandari also joined Bista couple in the hand over programme. Shakya had also distributed relief materials to 35 visually-impaired people in Kirtipur last week.
Another double gold medallist of the SA Games, karateka Manday Kaji Shrestha is another athlete active in social work during the pandemic. Shrestha began with distributing snacks and shoes to the people walking towards their home along the Araniko Highway and his team also went to two old-age homes in Bhaktapur to feed the senior citizens last week.
Table tennis player, Alina Maharjan distributed relief materials to the needy ones in Kathmandu Ward No 17 (Khusibu) from the prize money she got for winning team event bronze medal in the SA Games. Maharjan had received Rs 200,000 as a reward from the government and she spent half of the amount to buy relief materials for the around 200 families.
The Cricket Players Association of Nepal donated the award money — Rs 500,000 — to relief fund initiated by government to fight against COVID-19 after it was forced to cancel the second edition of the NCCS-CPAN Cricket Awards. The Nepal Golf Association distributed relief materials to 51 caddies of Royal Nepal Golf Club and Gokarna Golf Club and it joined hands with Himalayan Golf Course to support 37 caddies and staff in Pokhara. The RNGC also distributed relief materials to its caddies and staff.
Former treasurer of National Sports Council, Meen Krishna Maharjan along with 13th SA Games gold medallist karateka Biplav Lal Shrestha, national player Mukundra Maharjan, and former kick boxing national champion Binod Maharjan have been feeding the daily-wage earners and beggars of Mahalaxmi and Batuk Bhairav temples since the first day of the lockdown at the Lagankhel dojang. Former national cricket team member Raju Basnyat and his team have been feeding the poor in Anamnagar.
Also, national football team goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong distributed relief materials to around 300 persons at the Pashupati area on behalf of 100-plus energy drink, the brand he endorses. The All Nepal Football Association and former national player Sundar Thapa distributed relief materials to foreign players affiliated to various A division clubs, while the Asian Games silver medal winning taekwondo player Sabita Rajbhandari and her husband Kishor Shrestha — who have been living in the US — sent money through National Sports Council for the poor families of Kathmandu Ward No 11 and the players of Nepal Kyokushin Seishin Kaikan Karate Association.