Athletics: Pema Rinzin is nervous.

It is 2:45pm. The time for the grand opening ceremony of the 13th National School Athletics Meet is almost here.

This is the first time the 23-year old is in Thimphu.

Pema Rinzin is representing Samdrupjongkhar at the annual national sports meet in the capital. From one of the furthest and remotest schools in the country today, Pema Rinzin comes with the hope to win a medal for his school, Minjiwoong Central School in Serthi gewog, Samdrupjongkhar.

“I’ve never been to Thimphu. This is very exciting,” said Pema Rinzin. “This place is more than what I had imagined. Everything is so modernised with huge buildings and countless vehicles. Yet I can feel the nature that I always experience back at home.”

Born and brought up in a rural setting, with an ambition to become an engineer, Pema Rinzin is a natural shot putter. His personal record stands at 14.75 metres, which he made during one of the cluster school competitions. The national record in shot-put today stands at 16.45 meters made by Sonam Rinzin of Zhemgang higher secondary school in 2001.

“I might not be able to break that record but I’ll give my personal best and try to throw at least for 16 metres at the competition,” said Pema Rinzin.

With not much practice for the competition, Pema Rinzin is nervous after meeting with some of his competitors at the competition. “I couldn’t practice much because of the exams, but I’m hoping that my physical strength will make it up against the techniques of my opponents,” he said. “I hope Thimphu treats me well because it is a really nice place and I love the weather here.”

Along with Pema Rinzin, six more students from Minjiwoong central school will take part in the competition. Pema Rinzin’s team specialises in throws and jumps.

A total of 401 students from 113 schools from around the country have gathered in the capital for the five-day athletics meet at the National Athletics Track in Thimphu. The athletes will compete in 13 different track and field events.

Organised by the Games and Sports division of the Department of Youth and Sports in collaboration with the Bhutan Amateur Athletics Federation (BAAF), the annual event promotes youth development through the medium of sports.

The competition is conducted to enhance the physical wellbeing of the children and also to help in the wholesome development of the students. The competition is also expected to build solidarity among the youth and provide an opportunity for BAAF to select potential students as national athletes.

Younten Tshedup