Tuesday 21st May 2024

Pickleball Prospects : Nepal’s Growing Sports Frontier

Published on : 13 October, 2023 3:08 pm

Phatya Bahadur Khadka : Pickleball is a physically demanding game that incorporates aspects of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Due to the less complicated rules, it is simpler for novices, ideal for both indoor and outdoor courts, and easily customizable. A racket or paddle is used to play this game, which is usually played by two to four participants. With the aid of a paddle, a hollow plastic ball is played in this game between two 34-inch-high roped (net) divided courts.

Pickleball is a new sport that is ideal for players of all ages and skill levels that is quickly gaining popularity in Nepal. It encourages individuals to feel a sense of brotherhood, community spirit, and spirit-de-corps; these distinctive qualities make it a more well-liked and distinctive game in a social domain for those aspiring.

Additionally, internationally. Pickleball is a fun sport for all ages, including kids, adults, and seniors, and it has gained a lot of popularity in recent years due to its less strenuous physical demands on joints and muscles. It has seen particularly impressive growth and development in the United States, and as a result, it is quickly influencing aspirants on other continents as well.

Pickleball is played in singles and doubles, but it actually encourages some degree of inclusivity and a sense of diversity in the mixed-doubles group category because it creates an appropriate platform for players of all genders, abilities, and physical attributes to compete, and because it has cheaper equipment costs than other games, which makes it more accessible to players from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

The individual players in singles and doubles should be well-equipped with some specific strategy, teamwork, and physicality to deal well with this sport, which is slightly different from ping pong, badminton, and tennis. It is also easily adaptable to those players who have prior racket game experience, but it is continuously gaining an immense amount of popularity all over the world.

When it comes to the game’s beginnings, it was created in 1965 by three brothers, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, who had a genuine desire to find a way to combine tennis and table tennis with pickleball.

Pickleball has been acknowledged as one of the most well-liked sports in the American sporting landscape for a number of years. In the United States, there are currently between 3 and 4 million pickleball players, according to research from the Sport & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). Pickleball players are becoming more and more numerous every day.

In recent years, India has seen a rise in its popularity. Pickleball competitions have been consistently organized by the All-India Pickleball Association (AIPA). Two pickleball tournaments were conducted in Goa, India, last year. A significant number of 240 and 370 Indian pickleball players, as well as players from other countries, participated in two competitions.

For sports enthusiasts in Nepal, pickleball is a completely new sport, and many of the country’s citizens aren’t familiar with it. It is said that this sport started to gain popularity in Nepal in 2019, when some sports fans imported it. At the moment, pickleball game instruction and awareness-raising activities are frequently carried out at the school, college, and district levels by a recently founded Pickleball Association Nepal. The Pickleball Association of Nepal, on the other hand, is putting together a campaign with the tagline “School to Olympics” to spread or expand the pickleball game throughout Nepal.

In a similar vein, the Pickleball Association Nepal arranged a two-day (September 16–17) “Nepal-Sikkim Pickleball Tournament.” This friendly matchup between Nepal and Sikkim served as a catalyst for the development and expansion of pickleball in general.

Since pickleball is a relatively new sport, at present, there are limited number of players in Nepal who are interested in it right now. However, under the instruction of some amateur coaches, about more than 2 dozen pickleball players are currently practicing at Campion Academy in Tangal, Kathmandu and Bishal Milan Kendra in Bishalnagar to sharpen their fundamentals and skills.

Likewise, the Ultimate Pickleball championship-2023 was held in Mumbai’s Nesco, National Sports Complex from September 29 to October 1 (a span of 3 days). In which 470 pickleball players took part in an important first-of-its-kind event. Jackson Subedi and Radheshyam Machamasi competed in the 35+years singles and doubles categories, respectively, while Mr. Harsh Sagar Tuladhar and Lt Col. Phatya Bahadur Khadka(R) competed in the 50+years singles and doubles categories. The team of Mr. Jakson Subedi and Mr. Radheshyam Machamasi ultimately managed to win the bronze medals for Nepal in the doubles category among the 35+ years category. Despite having had minimal training at home, the Nepalese pickleball players who competed in the tournament displayed their intelligence and sportsmanship. Winning bronze medals for Nepal is a source of tremendous pride and opens the door for the sport of pickleball in Nepal to develop in the years to come.

The main goal of competing in the Ultimate Pickleball Championship in Mumbai was to compete with some ranked and world-class Indian players including other players representing form other foreign countries while gaining international exposure for this developing sport. It appears that continued development of pickleball in Nepal will require some time after analyzing the existing situation of the challenge.

However, the Pickleball Association Nepal (PAN) is constantly committed to its growth and upliftment, launching numerous training and awareness campaigns for people of all ages and genders.

Pickleball is becoming increasingly popular in the US, Europe, and nearby India. It demonstrates how this game is progressively developing in Nepal as well. To live up to this game, the Nepali government, sports policy makers, and enthusiasts must work together and support each other at all costs. The pickleball game can be improved by taking into account its budget, equipment, physical infrastructure, coaches, training, and strong leadership.

 It is without a doubt a source of great pride for Nepal that pickleball players competed in the Ultimate Pickleball Championship 2023. Mumbai provided useful tips to improve the participants’ games, and Jakson and Machamasi’s bronze medal wins opened doors to success abroad. Pickleball players should be supported and encouraged to improve the current state of the sport.

Therefore, Nepal needs to expand the number of committed individuals, stakeholders and organizations to initiate events, provide instruction and enhance capacity building. By examining the current condition of the challenge, it appears that pickleball in Nepal is only getting started, and we hope to be able to take this wonderful sport to the next level. To expand pickleball, however, Pickleball Association Nepal (PAN) is adhering to a genuine spirit of hope and promise.

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