Monday, October 21, 2013


NAMCHI, 20 Oct: Anand Gurung, Ravindra Kumar and Kazi Sherpa were on top of the world, literally, in May 2013 when, over the course of three days, each stepped on to the summit of Mount Everest. Now, about five months since, they back on the top of the world with the State Government announcing their name for the Sikkim Khel Ratna, a recognition which carries a Rs. 10 lakh kitty each apart from the prestige it shines on the mountaineers. Needless to add, all three are elated over the announcement and each thanked the State Government and the Chief Minister not only for the latest announcement, but also for having made their adventure possible to begin with.
The trio has secured a special set of firsts – Anand is the youngest Sikkimese to climb Everest, Kazi Sherpa has now done it for the second time and Ravindra Kumar is the first IAS officer to have climbed Everest.
An IPR Deptt press release issued yesterday informs that the State Government has announced to confer the Sikkim Khel Ratna Award along with a cash reward of Rs. 10,00,000 each to the three Everesters who had scaled Mt. Everest in May 2013.
The release goes on to inform that the Everesters had called on the Chief Minister on their return to Sikkim on 06 June when, while congratulating them, the Chief Minister had shared them that they would be suitably honoured by the State Government for their achievement.
The Sikkim Khel Ratna along with the cash award will be conferred on the trio at a Stat function during the next Republic Day celebrations, 26 January 2014, he release informs.
Needless to add, when contacted, each of the three shared his elation over the announcement and spoke on how this gesture has made their sense of achievement even more special.
At 21, Anand from Damthang in South Sikkim, is the youngest Sikkimese to have climbed Everest, a feat h completed on 17 May 2013. He is currently working as a guest instructor at the Indian Himalayan Center for Adventure and Eco-Tourism at Chemchey in South Sikkim. When contacted, he first thanked Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for having provided him with the opportunity to attempt Everest and again for recognizing his achievement now with the Khel Ratna.
When asked what he will do with the Rs. 10 lakh cash award, he admits that he confused about what us he could put this sizeable amount to, and adds that more than money, it is the gesture of conferring the Sikkim Khel Ratna which will inspire more youngsters towards aiming high and embracing adventure instead of dangerous lifestyles.
“Youth who pick up dangerous and harmful habits should now realize that life itself is an adventure and pursuing adventure sports will not only keep one fit and healthy, but also teach us to love Mother Nature. Youth love challenges in life, and if shown the right path, they can put this instinct to the right use and the experience will give them the confidence to overcome any difficulty in life,” he shared.
Ravindra Kumar stepped on the summit of Everest on 19 May and with it, became the first IAS officer in the country to succeed on the world’s highest mountain. He is currently posted as the Sub Divisional Magistrate in Namchi and was on probation in Gangtok when the Everest opportunity opened up.
When contacted for his response on the Khel Ratna announcement, he said, “It is always a matter to cherish and feel proud when your capability is recognized; especially when it is done by the State government.”
Sharing that the award will boost his morale and confidence, he added that this has also shouldered him with more responsibility and encouraged him to continue serving the State and the people better.
“When a state honours your achievement, it shoulders one with more responsibility to maintain a certain standard not only in the field of sports and adventure but also in the field of social service both at the state and national level. This honour has given me a new responsibility. I thank the Government of Sikkim in general and the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling in particular. The other two Everesters from Sikkim were part of the North East expedition team but I climbed the Everest privately on my own expenditure, hence the permission of the Chief Minister of the state to whose cadre I belong was a must. I requested Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and he granted permission without any delay due to which my dream came true,” he shared further.
For Kazi Sherpa, currently serving as OSD cum Technical In-Charge at IHCAE-Chemchey, 18 May saw him on the summit of Everest for the second time. And now comes news of the Khel Ratna felicitation.
“This is the most unique felicitation I have ever received. This is an honour for me and my fellow Everesters. This award will not only honour them but will also encourage the younger generation of the country as a whole towards adventure tourism. This is a big honour,” he said.
Sikkim has more scope in adventure and this is just the beginning, he added, while thanking the Government of Sikkim, the Chief Minister and the concerned department for the award.
“I also thank the Director, Indian Himalayan Center for Adventure and Eco-Tourism, Chemchey, GT Bhutia. I along with my family and relatives are really grateful to the Chief Minister of Sikkim who has announced this honour,” he adds.
The official release on the award adds that the State government has announced the Khel Ratna for the Everesters as a token of recognition of their “extraordinary effort, determination and perseverance in scaling the highest peak of the world”. The State Government has always supported and encouraged such achievers in the field of sports and other disciplines and this announcement is one such gesture of the State Government to motivate the youngsters of Sikkim to achieve similar feats, the release concludes.

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