The 13th South Asian Games came to an end yesterday, bringing the curtain down on the largest multi-discipline sporting extravaganza of the region at the Dasarath Rangasala in Kathmandu.
The two-hour long closing ceremony was a rather low-key affair, the highlight of which was perhaps its final segment, illuminated by drone-supported colourful lights projecting Nepal and its heritage.
It was a quiet end to the razzmatazz of 26 disciplines held over 10 days across three cities. The host nation came out with flying colours, finishing second to India while reaping the rewards of the long-term training of athletes.
Nepal, devastated by an earthquake four years ago, was uncertain about hosting the Games even three months ago, but they prepared their athletes with purpose. There might have been shortcomings on many accounts, including infrastructure, but from a sporting point of view, Nepal took full advantage of hosting the Games.
The success was capped with gold in men’s football -- the final event to be decided -- in front of a capacity crowd at Kathmandu’s premier sporting venue.
The baton for the next edition was handed over to Pakistan, even though uncertainty remains over whether the country can convince all six other nations to go to Pakistan in two years’ time.