Unseeded Nepalese Player Santoo Shrestha Qualifies for Paris Olympics

Unseeded Nepalese Player Santoo Shrestha Secures Paris Olympics Berth at South Asia Regional Qualifier

In a remarkable display of talent, unseeded Santoo Shrestha of Nepal clinched his spot for the prestigious 2024 Paris Olympics after emerging victorious at the South Asia Regional Olympic Qualification tournament held in Kathmandu, Nepal. The three-day event saw the participation of nine men and ten women from Bangladesh, the Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the host nation.

Shrestha, drawn in the same group as the Men’s Singles top seed Ahmed Akhyar of the Maldives, showcased his skill and determination, overcoming all his opponents to progress to the semifinal stage as the group winner. In the semifinal, he faced off against Sri Lanka’s Chameera Ginige, securing a hard-fought 4-2 victory to set up an all-Nepalese final clash against Sanyog Kapali.

The final proved to be a thrilling encounter, with Shrestha taking a 3-1 lead. However, Kapali fought back to level the match at 3-3, forcing a decisive game. Shrestha, maintaining his composure, delivered his best performance in the final game, winning 11-5 to seal a 4-3 victory and secure his place at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Qualifying for the Olympics and getting the opportunity to compete in Paris is an incredible honour and a dream come true. I’m feeling excited, grateful, and determined to represent my country to the best of my abilities,” Shrestha said after his triumph.

In the women’s singles event, top seed Fatimath Dheeema Ali from the Maldives overcame a stern test in the group stage, defeating Sri Lanka’s Bimandee Bandara 4-3 to top her group and earn a semifinal bye. There, Ali dominated Sri Lanka’s Ishara Madurangi with a 4-1 victory and went on to defeat another Sri Lankan, Bimandee Bandara, by the same margin, securing her maiden Olympics ticket to Paris.

“I feel incredibly honoured to be able to accomplish my dream at such a young age. I am looking forward to being able to play with some of the best players in the world,” an elated Ali said.

The participation of these athletes in the 2024 Paris Olympics remains contingent upon the selection decisions of their respective National Olympic Committees, as per their exclusive authority.

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