Kathmandu, Nepal, December 11, 2019: The Prime Minister of Nepal, KP Sharma Oli, and top Nepalese sports officials Ramesh Kumar Silwal and Jeevan Ram Shrestha declared the 13th South Asian Games an unprecedented success at the closing ceremony on Tuesday. Addressing the huge crowd at Dasharath Stadium via video conferencing, Oli, who had only a few days before returned from hospital after an appendix operation, commended Nepalese athletes for their “unparalleled achievement” and said the Games had united people in the region. “These Games have once again served as a catalyst for unity and friendship among our South Asian neighbours, and have been a grand success,” Oli said. “We are proud of ourselves to have re-built earthquake-ravaged infrastructure to successfully host the South Asian Games simultaneously in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Janakpur.” As the Games’ flame was extinguished following a morale-boosting victory by the host nation who won the men’s football gold medal, Silwal, Member Secretary, National Sports Council of Nepal and chairman of the Games organising committee, pointed to the number of gold medals won by Nepal as proof of the pudding. “In the past, the most gold medals we won at a South Asian Games was 31. Now we have won 51 golds, crossing the 100-gold medal mark in the history of this competition. Yes, these Games have been a total success for Nepal,” Silwal said. Shrestha, President of the Nepal Olympic Committee, added: “We are very proud of our athletes. They have made the country proud. It is an unqualified success and we can only build on this.” Nepal finished second in the medal standings for the first time in South Asian Games history winning 51 golds, 60 silver and 95 bronze to tally 206 medals. Powerhouse India finished top of the standings in the 10-day event with a massive haul of 174 golds, 93 silver and 45 bronze to aggregate 312 medals. Shrestha added: “These Games were a success not only for Nepal but also for South Asia. Winning so many medals and finishing second in the standings was also the outcome of the backing of the government who supported us a 100 per cent.” “See you in Islamabad” read the electronic scoreboard which a few hours before read Nepal 2 Bhutan 1 when the men’s football final ended. More than 15,000 spectators cheered as the flag of the South Asian Olympic Council was lowered and handed over to Pakistan, the hosts of the 2021 Games.