Bhutan’s pas­sion for archery

Bhutan Times - - Editorial - Sports Re­porter

For Bhutan who of­fer very lit­tle in terms of com­pe­ti­tion at the in­ter­na­tional stage, archery is more than just a sport. It is a tra­di­tion, a cul­ture and a his­tory -prac­tised by ‘85 per cent’ men out of nearly sev­en­lakh pop­u­la­tion.

De­clared as the na­tional sport of the coun­try in 1971, archery has been de­scribed by the Bhutan Olympic Com­mit­tee as a “cel­e­bra­tion of the Bhutanese way of life.”

No fes­ti­val in Bhutan is com­plete with­out archery and the tra­di­tional archery tour­na­ments be­tween vil­lages are bat­tles for hon­our and in­clude feasts and prizes.

“Archery in Bhutan is some­thing more than a sport be­cause our an­ces­tors used to play this tra­di­tional game. I can’t make you un­der­stand how archery is as­so­ci­ated with our life,” Nima Wangdi, a Bhutanese archer par­tic­i­pat­ing in the on­go­ing 20th Asian Archery Cham­pi­onships, told the Daily Star dur­ing yes­ter­day.

“There are many sports be­ing played in Bhutan but foot­ball and archery are on top and archery is ob­vi­ously ahead of foot- ball in terms of pop­u­lar­ity and par­tic­i­pa­tion. I think 85 per cent of men play archery in Bhutan,” added Nima, who pro­gressed to the sec­ond round of re­curve bow event be­fore los­ing to a Chi­nese Taipei player.

Nima said that tra­di­tional cane-made archery is prac­tised at school level with a set of rules and reg­u­la­tions for­mu­lated by the Bhutan In­dige­nous Fed­er­a­tion and nu­mer­ous com­pound archery tour­na­ments with 145-me­ter tar­gets are be­ing held in Bhutan round the year. How­ever, those do not help them com­pete at the in­ter­na­tional level, which re­quires hit­ting 50-me­ter tar­gets in com­pound events.

The Bhutanese com­pound archers are able to hit the tar­gets (145 me­ter) with no­table ac­cu­racy and fre­quency but de­spite such skills, they are not get­ting in­ter­na­tional suc­cess as they are used to fin­ger re­lease ar­rows in­stead of in­ter­na­tional stan­dard trig­ger re­lease.

“We don’t have many com­pound archers who can com­pete at in­ter­na­tional level, and those that we have are part­timers who play the game af­ter man­ag­ing their own busi­ness,” said Nima, who is a con­trac­tual re­curve archer of Bhutan Archery Fed­er­a­tion.

How­ever, Nima said that they have the dream of qual­i­fy­ing for the 2020 Olympic Games di­rectly. The Bhutanese play­ers usu­ally take part in Olympics with wild card.

“We have started re­curve bow event four to five years ago and we have set three tar­gets for fu­ture: The first one is to qual­ify for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games di­rectly. The sec­ond one is to win any medal from the Asian Archery Cham­pi­onships and the third one is to win gold medal in the next South Asian Games,” said Nima adding that they have won five bronze medals in the 2016 South Asian Games in In­dia and four medals, in­clud­ing two sil­ver medals, in the ISSF Is­lamic Sol­i­dar­ity Archery Cham­pi­onships held in Dhaka in Jan­uary this year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.