NEPALESE STUDENT ASSOCIATION USES SPORTS TO FOSTER FRIENDSHIPS

Nepalese studentMadison Shumway

Staff Writer

Each semester, the Nepalese Student Association hosts basketball and soccer tournaments, providing a way for Nepalese students to get to know each other and contribute to the club’s packed schedule.

This spring’s basketball tournament, held April 8 and 9 at Reed Gym, featured five teams, each named after a development region in Nepal.

Team Purba Anchal took the top prize, besting Team Madhya Paschima Anchal, 30-28, in games that were played in a three-on-three format, first in a league and then knockout.

“Being international students, we are not just here for studies,” said Kaushal Raj Ghimire, a sophomore civil engineering major who helps organize the NSA’s sports tournaments. “We are always organizing extracurricular activities and events.”

Last Saturday, April 15, the NSA hosted its biannual soccer tournament at Bartz Field.

Called the Bhale Cup, after the word “bhale,” meaning chicken, the tournament featured two 14-player teams. The winner was rewarded with a chicken dinner at Ross Park.

The teams, the Suuarna Warriors and the Otamendia Champs, are headed respectively by Arjun Prasai and Moran Singh Madai.

After a member of the community was injured in an accident, players named their teams after him in support.

The two April tournaments are part of the 10 the NSA organizes each year, which include basketball and indoor and outdoor soccer.

Each tournament, in addition to the players recruited to compete, brings a sizable audience. The basketball tournament April 8 and 9 had a turnout of about 90 people, Ghimire said.

Ghimire received the MVP award in the tournament. He began playing sports during his childhood in Nepal, and he and his friends play at every possible moment.

“Sports have always been a part of my life,” he said. “Whenever we get time, whenever we are free, like on Friday afternoon, we play soccer at Cadet, and on Saturdays we go to the gym to play basketball.”

Mahesh Acharya scored 90 points overall, making him the top scorer.

When NSA members aren’t playing basketball and soccer, they’re likely planning for their other cultural and recreational events.

Each year, they throw a Nepalese Night, the club’s main event.

They also celebrate Dashain, a 15-day-long national festival of Nepal, Tihar, a five-day-long Hindu festival of lights and Holi, a springtime festival of colors.

The club organizes other group activities, such as a summer hiking excursion to Wyoming.

Still, the NSA emphasizes its sporting events because of their potential to create community.

“It’s so much fun out there, because everyone will be watching you playing the game,” Ghimire said.

“This is a great opportunity to know about the people that are in your community. Some Nepalese people don’t know each other, and they’re lost in the university. When these kind of things happen, when everyone gathers together … everyone then will know about each other and have a good conversation.”

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