KATHMANDU, July 19: Sangina Baidya, one of the most successful Nepali taekwondo players, announced her retirement as taekwondo player on Sunday morning amidst a special program at the covered hall of the National Sports Council.
"I am very emotional today," Baidya said while announcing her retirement during the Fourth Korean Ambassador National Taekwondo Championship. "I am formally announcing change in my role after nearly two decades in the game."
Baidya, the first Nepali player to qualify for Olympics, started playing taekwondo in 1991 and retired at the age of 34 with two South Asian Games (SAG) gold medals and a gold, a silver and a bronze in Asian Taekwondo Championship. She said she would remain in taekwondo either as a coach or an official or a referee. She was qualified for the Athens Olympics 2004.
"I have always felt I did something for the nation; be it winning two gold medals in SAG or my journey from bronze to gold in Asian Tawkwondo Championship or becoming a first player to qualify for the Olympics," she added.
On her retirement, the Baidya Group of Organizations awarded her with a Toyota Yaris to honor her achievement. The award was arranged on the effort of Nepal Taekwondo Association and grant provided by the government. President of the Baidya Group of Organizations Suraj Baidya handed her the key of the car. She became the third Nepali player to be awarded with a car after footballer Hari Khadka and Upendra Man Singh.
She won a gold in the 12th Asian Taekwondo Championship (ATC) in 1996 in Australia, a silver in 11th ATC-Philippines, and a bronze in 14th ATC Hong Kong-2000. She also bagged a gold in the 8th SAG in Kathmandu and 9th SAG in Islamabad.
Out of 10 major national level participations in between 1992 and 2001, she won gold each in all of them and in her 20 international level participations she bagged 10 golds, a silver and three bronze medals. She is also the quarter finalist of the 12th World Taekwondo Championship held at the Philippines in 1995.
Baidya, working as a senior coach of the National Sports Council (NSC), is also a five-dan black belt. She also thanked her family members, Nepal Taekwondo Association, other sports bodies and all fans for supporting her and her coach Deep Raj Guru.
Sangina, born to Achut Nanda Baidya and Nirmala Baidya at Bidur Municipality-9 of Nuwakot, dedicated her achievements to her family. "I would like to dedicate my achievement in sports to my parents for letting me to be active in the field of sports at a time when there was a mentality that one would be bad (bigranchha) if she gets involved in sports."
"To qualify for the Athens Olympics and to win a gold in the ATC were the happiest moments of my life," Baidya said at a press meet. "But I was not able to participate in the Bangkok Asiad during 1998 as I was recovering after a bike accident and that was the worst moment of my life," said an emotional Baidya. I am also very sorry for not being able to bring any medal home during the Athens Olympics.
Baidya, 34, still unmarried, shied a bit when asked about the marriage plans. "I am thinking of it and sooner or later I will get married."
She has won several prestigious awards -- NSJF best player of the year ward in 1996, 1997 and 2003; best player of the year award from Nepal Taekwondo Association in 1994, 1996 ; outstanding taekwondo player from National Sports Council in 1995; best player of the year award from the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 1997; best youth award in 1997; Prabal and Gorkhadakshinbahu, Suprabal Gorkhadakshinbahu, Trishakti Patta and many more -- during her career as a taekwondo player.