December 2: The 13th edition of South Asian Games kicked off in the capital on Sunday, December 1. President Bidya Devi Bhandari inaugurated the mega event amid a glittering opening ceremony at the Dasharath Stadium.
Athletes of the seven South Asian nations performed march pass during the opening ceremony.
Nepal’s flag bearer Kamal Bahadur Adhikari led the home team during the march pass. More than 15,000 artists performed cultural show in front of 5000 visitors. The glittering opening ceremony concluded with fireworks.
Altogether 2712 athletes, including 596 from Nepal, will be competing in the ten-day event from December 1 to 10. The Sri Lankan team has 564 players followed by India (487), Bangladesh (470), Pakistan (263), the Maldives (216) and Bhutan (116).
Afghanistan, which secured fourth position in the 12th edition, did not participate in this edition. Host India had secured the maximum 308 medals during the last edition held in 2016. Nepal had finished sixth with 3 gold, 23 silver and 34 bronze medals.
There are altogether 28 games in the current edition of SAG. Among them, 19 games will be held in Kathmandu, eight in Pokhara and one in Janakpur.
Although SAG officially kicked off on Sunday, volleyball matches were held from November 27.
On Sunday, both men’s and women’s badminton teams of Nepal secured victory in the first round matches. Both the teams entered the semifinals. Other games are also being held across different venues.
Speaking at the inauguration, Nepal Olympic Committee President Jeevan Ram Shrestha said that the regional event will help foster friendly relation among the SAARC countries.
Meanwhile, Minister for Youth and Sports Jagat Bahadur Bishwakarma said SAG is a perfect platform to promote the country’s tourism industry.