National Judokas set for Asian Championship 2024 in Hong Kong

Two National Judokas are preparing to participate in the Asian Championships Individuals 2024 in Hong Kong, China. They will leave for Hong Kong tomorrow. The three-day tournament is scheduled to begin on Saturday. Nearly 300 Judokas from 36 Asian countries will take part in the tournament. The Asian Championships 2024 is a part of the IJF World Tour during the 2024 Summer Olympics qualification period.

26-year-old Tandin Wangchuk from Thimphu will represent Bhutan in the 81 kilogrammes and below weight category. He is the first athlete to represent Bhutan in this weight category. He will compete with 28 Judokas in this category on Sunday.

“Because our country is small and isn’t as advanced as some of the other countries, we don’t get much exposure. Because of that, when we face international athletes on different international stages, we get nervous. So, we end up not performing well as we do during the training session.”

Similarly, 25-year-old Kinley Tshering from Zhemgang will compete in the 66 kilogrammes and below weight category. He will compete with 30 judokas in the category.

Having started his Judo journey in 2011, he represented in many international competitions such as the Asian Games, World Championship, and South Asian Games. He received a bronze medal in the South Asian Games.

“When we go to international tournaments, we get to know a lot of people. Moreover, when we win on international stages while representing our country, we feel proud.”

According to Judo coach, Yuki Fukui, the Asian Championships will feature top-ranked athletes from across Asia presenting a tough challenge for Bhutanese athletes.

“We are participating in the Asian judo championship this week. This tournament is important for us because if we win, we get the world ranking point. If we continue getting those points, we might get to compete in the Olympics. This tournament has a lot of high-level athletes from other countries. It will be tough for us but we will try and get a medal for Bhutan.”

Currently, Tandin Wangchuk holds a world ranking of 494 in the 73 kilogrammes and below category while Kinley Tshering was ranked 452 in the 66 kilogrammes and below weight category. However, to qualify for the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, athletes need a ranking of less than 100.

The tournament will feature 166 men and 106 women from 36 countries. Bhutan is among the 205 member countries of the International Judo Federation.

Karma Wangdi

Edited by Sonam Pem

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