Olympic gold medal­ist says Bhutanese hold good po­ten­tial in sport

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

Ly­onchen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay met an Olympic gold medal­ist from Ja­pan, Naoko Takahshi, on 17 Jan­uary in Thim­phu.

Naoko Taka­hashi vis­ited Bhutan as JICA’s am­bas­sador, Kenji Hi­ra­matsu, en­cour­aged the de­vel­op­ing world to pri­or­i­tize sports.

Ly­onchen thanked her for find­ing time to visit Bhutan and in­spir­ing the Bhutanese women. He said, “You are an in­spi­ra­tion and hero not just to the Ja­panese but to the world.”

Naoko Taka­hashi recorded the women’s marathon Olympic in 2000 Syd­ney to win gold and she broke the women’s marathon world record in Ber­lin a year later where she be­came the first woman to com­plete a marathon within two hours and 20 min­utes.

Af­ter ob­serv­ing the ath­let­ics at the win­ter coach­ing camp in Bhutan, she said that Bhutanese ath­let­ics have a great po­ten­tial. She also said that Bhutan has right con­di­tions for train­ing.

She ex­pects Bhutan to be­come the paradise for sport-lov­ing peo­ple. She said, “Bhutan’s ath­letes are very com­pet­i­tive and if they are trained well, they will be able to par­tic­i­pate in the in­ter­na­tional events.”

Ly­onchen also ex­pects to see in­ter­na­tional run­ners to visit Bhutan on train­ing. “I wish to see Ja­panese run­ners in par­tic­u­lar to come and train here,” he said, “So that they can com­plete the full marathon less than two hours in Tokyo 2020 Olympic.”

Ly­onchen said that the Bhutanese by na­ture have a strong core. “There is a need to tap into this to cre­ate a sport­ing cul­ture,” he said.

Ly­onchen in­tro­duced a young marathoner, Chimi Dema from Royal Thim­phu Col­lege, to the Ja­panese Olympic gold medal­ist. “She has the po­ten­tial, dis­ci­pline and courage to per­form bet­ter,” he said.

Chimi Dema won the sil­ver medal in Snow­man Run clock­ing at 7:39:19 last year. The two-day Snow­man Run from Gasa Tshachu to Laya, span­ning 53-kilo­me­ters, is one of the most dif­fi­cult in Bhutan and tough­est in the world.

The open cross-coun­try race as­cends from 2,231 me­ters (m) above sea level to 4,000 m.

A once-in-a-life­time run­ning re­treat will be or­ga­nized by Bhutan In­ter­na­tional Marathon (BIM) in cor­po­ra­tion with Sis­ter Marathon Peace Ini­tia­tive. Chimi Dema is un­der­go­ing train­ing for the BIM that is ex­pected to be con­ducted from 1 to 7 March this year.

The six-night and seven-day re­treat is ex­pected to see a group of Bhutanese of­fi­cials, spir­i­tual lead­ers, in­ter­na­tional run­ners, guest speak­ers and coaches who in­tend to bring fresh, new di­a­logue to each other’s lives.

Be­sides, Ly­onchen also said that the Bhutanese are for­tu­nate to have Royal fam­ily mem­bers who are very ac­tive. “His Majesty the king is fre­quently trekking and hik­ing,” he said.

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