Bhutanese archers prepare for Summer Olympics qualifier

Three national recurve archers are undergoing intensive training to qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. To participate in the Olympic Games, the archers will have to compete in the qualifying round which will be held in Turkey in June this year. They will compete in two categories, individual and team matches.

Currently, the archers are undergoing training at Bhutan Archery Federation’s archery range at Lanjophakha in the capital.

Two of them are students studying in high school and college.

19-year-old Sonam Penjor from Lhuentse is the youngest athlete among the three. He is a class 12 student studying at Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School.

It was in 2017 when he started his journey as an archer and then took part in a few international tournaments such as the Asian Archery Championships and Asian Archery Cup.

However, he said he is facing challenges in managing his time as he is a student.

“Firstly, being a student, I am not able to focus or give more time to practise archery. Compared to archery, I have to give more importance to my studies. So, I cannot give more time to archery. Therefore, I am facing difficulty in managing time.”

Similarly, 28-year-old Lam Dorji from Samdrup Jongkhar had to defer his studies so that he could focus on the training. He is a final-year student at the Royal Thimphu College.

He started his career in archery in 2013.

He took part in about 20 international tournaments securing bronze medal in the team match during the South Asian Games in 2019.

“For this game, I have deferred my studies for my final semester, which I am currently pursuing in RTC. I have been training from 9 AM to 5 PM and even during extra hours so that I can give a full dedication and commitment to the game and then have a good result.”

And Kinley Tshering from Paro will also take part in the qualifiers. The 32-year-old participated in more than 15 international tournaments and won a bronze and two silver medals, so far.

“Firstly, we can keep ourselves healthy by playing archery. Secondly, we get to represent the country. Moreover, we can get exposure and make friends with other archers.”

They have been undergoing training for more than three months. They said they are confident to qualify for the Summer Olympic Games.

The athletes will have to achieve a minimum of 640 points to qualify for the Olympic Games.

The Summer Olympics which will happen towards the end of July is expected to see the participation of about 10,500 athletes. They will be competing in more than 300 events in 32 different sports.

Bhutan first took part in the Olympic Games in 1984.

Karma Wangdi

Edited by Tshering Zam 

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