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How Solar Grinding Mill is Nurturing Athletes in Rural Nepal?

Introducing the life of Karnali Sports Club, Hari Bahadur Rokaya

Picture Jumla as the best place for high altitude sports in Nepal: a place where globally recognized athletes are born; Karnali sports club (KSC) was established in 2064 B.S (2007 A.D) to make that picture a reality. And Hari Bahadur Rokaya, a legend, the three time winner of the Everest marathon, a Guinness world record holder with the fastest timing for the highest altitude marathon (Everest marathon) and the only olympic athlete hailing from Karnali is at the center of it all. 

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KSC has managed to prosper independently and train more than 1,000 athletes with sheer dedication and resolve to change the face of sports in Nepal. Holding the motto Together we can close to heart, KSC aims to move forward to train even more athletes that will go on to eventually represent the district and the country on a global scale. Although their aims are valid and promising, the lack of support from the public, government and relevant agencies makes it challenging to achieve their goals.

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With solar grinding mill, KSC chooses the path of sustainability 

Currently their main source of revenue is a solar grinding mill which helps provide athletes with shoes, stationary, club outfits and nutritious meals for three days of speed training per week. The mill that was installed by Gham Power Nepal with the support of Grid Alternatives about 4 years ago is being used to sustain the club by grinding flour and selling them in and outside the town. One special policy KSC abides by is a 20% discount for women who buy from the solar grinding mill, aiming to make a small contribution in bettering their life. Their other philanthropic deeds include building bathrooms, building school libraries, and donating benches, desks, story books, stationary, school bags, warm garments, coats, and nutritious foods to various schools throughout the region. They are also quite involved in the community, volunteering at cultural and religious festivals, as well as arranging medical camps and municipal cleanliness programs.

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Before the grinding mill, the club survived doing miscellaneous jobs here and there, and with their well-wishers’ support; “The grinding mill helps us to exist”, claims Saroj Shah – one of the chairpersons of the club, but merely existing is not enough. 

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How KSC is helping change the community and the sports industry for the better

With the goal of establishing a top sports center in Jumla, KSC needs exposure to change the conservative perspective of the Nepali community towards a career in Sports. Battling against the traditional stereotypes, the club is proud to observe that families are starting to support children who aspire to be an athlete, girls who would otherwise be subject to age-old custom of early marriage are coming on to train at KSC. The change in communal mentality is surely and steadily taking place. 

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Always striving for better opportunities, KSC hopes to do more

Aside from stereotypes, athletes have been struggling with missed opportunities to showcase their abilities due to the pandemic. However, the club is coming back with new events and we are thrilled to share their next marathon. The Jumla Rara Ultra Marathon is an upcoming prime famous ultra marathon in Nepal. The total trail measures at 45.3km at a height of 3981m. The 3rd series of this Jumla Rara Ultra marathon is dated for 19 March 2022. 

2KSC has managed to thrive and reach great heights with the support of close friends and family but only with continuous support and exposure can they achieve their dream of establishing a sports center in Jumla. We support KSC fully in their journey to train emerging talents in the sports industry and hope that the sports industry of Nepal with all its talented athletes can get more recognition and love.

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Contributed by Ujesha Vaidya