86-year-old archer rolls back the years

Archery in Bhutan is deeply rooted in the country’s culture and tradition. Archery is not just a sport in Bhutan but also a significant social and festive activity. Archery tournaments are an integral part of the Bhutanese way of life. One such tournament is the “Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk Memorial Archery Tournament” conducted in Phuentshogling for decades. One of the regular participants is an 86-year-old man whose passion for the sport knows no bounds.

Kinley Tshering is the oldest player in the tournament yet again. Besides his age, he is absolutely fit and active. Back in the day, he served as a managing director of the FCBL. He has been playing archery since his childhood and still takes pride in playing the sport.

“I love playing archery. Moreover, it helps keep you fit not just physically but also mentally. If I go for a walk, I get tired after walking barely one kilometre. But while playing archery, I don’t get tired even after 18 rounds of play. I can play archery continuously for up to three days.”

The Phuentshogling Sports Association has been organising this tournament and officials said that it serves as a platform for building and strengthening community vitality. They said it also promotes the national game and sportsmanship among archers. The tournament also has participants from Sikkim.

And among all the young and sturdy men, Kinley is the centre of attention. He has no intentions to stop playing archery any time soon.

“I will continue playing archery until my physical health gives in. I feel I can continue playing for the next four to five years.”

According to Kinley, he doesn’t suffer from any non-communicable diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure which are mostly associated with old age. He says that it is all because of his regular engagement with archery.

And even if he ages and his body wanes, Kinley’s love and passion for the game will only keep growing.

Kinley Dem, Phuentshogling

Edited by Kipchu

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