87 and going strong, Dengo relives his heydays

At 87 years old, age is just a number for Dengo from Paro, who participated as the oldest archer in the ongoing Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial National Archery Tournament. Not only is he the oldest participant, but his team also comprised of elderly men all above 60 years of age.

Dengo is well-known among many Bhutanese for his voice. But he also has a deep passion for traditional archery.

He began playing the sport at the age of 12 and continues to do so passionately even today.

Dengo and his team, Paro Agay 11, have made it to the quarter-finals of the tournament, despite the team consisting of elderly members.

Yesterday, during the quarter-finals, Dengo displayed his skill by hitting six Kareys.

However, his team, Paro Agay 11 could not make it to the semi-finals.

“I am interested in playing traditional archery since my childhood. Even at this age, my interest is not waning. I have been taking part in almost all the tournaments.”

He added that during the tournament, he teaches the young archers on the rules of playing traditional archery, how to dance, and respect others while playing archery.

“When there is an archery match and cultural performances happening somewhere, I make sure to witness them. The young people are taking interest in the sport and we tell them to enjoy it.”

As a goodwill gesture, both Dengo’s team and another team comprising elderly members from Thimphu were exempted from paying entry fees for the tournament.

“Bhutan Indigenous Games and Sports Association have allowed them to take part in the tournament without having to pay entry fees. This is to set examples and let the younger archers learn about discipline and dance while playing the game,” said Tshewang Namgay, the coordinator of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial National Archery Tournament. 

The Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial National Archery tournament, which began earlier this month, will end in the first week of May. A total of 20 teams from across the country are participating in the tournament.

For Dengo, his passion for traditional archery remains unwavering, and he intends to continue participating in the sport in the future as long as his body allows him to do so.

Karma Wangdi

Edited by Tshering Zam

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