Fifteen members of the 50-strong Nepali contingent to the Asian Games in Busan (left) failed to return home. Nepal won three silver medals in the games, so it wasn't a complete loss. The disappearance of the Nepali athletes was widely covered in the Korean and international press, and was a source of acute embarrassment for the country. There were fears that something like this would happen, but no one had imagined so many would stay behind. Some didn't even wait to appear in the game they went for, others took part in the first rounds and then vanished.
While athletes from other countries were winning medal after medal, our athletes started disappearing one after another. The highest attrition rate was in the boxing team-all but one of the eight boxers did not return. Two of those who disappeared, Ramchandra Thapa Magar and Ramesh Das Shrestha, had won gold and bronze medals in the South Asian Games in Kathmandu. All three members of the judo team disappeared. Weightlifting Nepal record holder, Roshan Nakarmi, and shooting participants Maya Sunwar, Birendra BK and Shyam Bista also disappeared.
Seven Nepali athletes had disappeared after the 1999 Hiroshima Asiad, and earlier this year three women footballers sought political asylum in Norway. And it is not just sports people. Some members of the Nepali delegation to Japan and Korea who went for the football World Cup in July never returned.
Kumar Adhikari advanced to the quarterfinals in boxing, but disappeared after that. No one from the shooting team got the minimum score required for participation in the Olympics, so there will be no Nepali representation in shooting in Athens.
It was only the medals won by Renuka Magar, Dipak Bista and Ritujimi Rai (below) that saved Busan from being a total loss, and we managed to rank 33 among 44 countries. The big question, though, is: was that worth the Rs 30 million that Nepal spent on sending our team to Korea?