Kathmandu, March 1, 2017:Â Nepal National and International Players Association (NNIPA) on Tuesday feted Guinness world record holder and former athlete Hari Bahadur Rokaya with Gajaraj Joshi Memorial Sports Personality Award during the NNIPA Player of the Year Award 2072 held in the capital. Besides Rokaya, NNIPA also feted best performers of 22 different games with player of the year award for their performance in last year.
Rokaya had represented Nepal in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and won Everest Marathon, the highest altitude marathon in the world, for three times in a row. Currently, he is nurturing the talents of young athletes at his home district in Jumla.
Rokaya was given Rs 25,000 on behalf of Late Gajaraj Joshi Foundation and presented with letter of appreciation. After receiving the award, Rokaya said that such programs were vital in motivating players. â€œI feel that my career as sportsperson has been evaluated and such programs will motivate current and future players,â€ he said. â€œIt is the responsibility of the state rather than other institutions to honor players.â€
Rokaya had claimed the title of Everest Marathon for three times from 1998 to 2000 and had won the race in 2000 in record time of 3 hours 50 minutes and 20 seconds to script his name in record books.
Besides Rokaya, 12th South Asian Games (SAG) wushu gold medalists Nima Gharti Magar, judoka Phupu Lhamu Khatri and footballer Nawayug Shrestha were honored with player of the year award. Meanwhile, singer Hemanta Rana who also performed during the program gave Nima Rs 10,000 as motivational amount.
Similarly, swimmer Gaurika Singh, the youngest athlete to compete in the Rio Olympics 2016 among more than 10,000 players, athlete Hari Rimal and badminton player Nangsal Tamang, volleyball player Saraswati Chaudhary and pugilist Saraswati Rana were also feted with player of the year award.
The players were honored by National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista, NNIPA President Deepak Bista and General Secretary Deepak Shrestha among others. Each of the players were given Rs 10,000 along with letter of appreciation.
Weightlifter Bikash Thapa, taekwondo player Bir Bahadur Mahara, archer Prem Prakash Pun, lawn tennis player Avishek Bastola, squash player Aarhanta Keshar Singh, table tennis player Deep Saun were also honored.
Similarly, triathlon’s Roja KC, hockey’s Pushpa Rana Magar, handball’s Ranjana Rai, shooter Rajya Laxmi Rana, and Ajay Pandit Chhetri of cycling also received the award.
Meanwhile, NNIPA also feted Kathmandu District Badminton Association President Deepak Thapa who performed the role of line referee during the Rio Olympics. He set a record by becoming the first Nepali to perform such role in Olympics. He was given letter of appreciation. Coincidentally, Thapa was also the coordinator of the award function.
NNIPA has been organizing the annual award function since the last decade. It has managed Rs 5,000 of the prize amount on its own while the remaining half amount was collected from respective associations.
Meanwhile, comedian Sandip Chhetri, singers Yogeshwar Amatya and Hemanta Rana and taekwondo players from Kapan Tigers performed during the program.