Featuring 23 teams

Thinley Namgay 

Team Bidung Gewog from Trashigang became the first team to advance to the quarterfinals of the Mewang Gyalsey Traditional Archery Tournament, currently taking place at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu. 

Their path to the quarterfinals was paved with a hard-fought victory over the formidable Druk Magical Private Limited team from Phuentsholing. 

Bidung secured their spot in the next round by triumphing in two consecutive sets, each with 25 points.

In a nail-biting match that stretched over nearly two days, Bidung emerged victorious with scores of 25-22 and 25-24. 

Captain Chador Rinchen expressed optimism about their chances in the tournament, highlighting the experience and skill of his teammates, many of whom have honed their craft while playing in the capital. 

While Bidung may draw players from various areas, Rinchen emphasised the cohesion and competence of the team, regardless of their origins. 

The ongoing tournament has drawn considerable attention, with 23  teams from across the country vying for the top honors. Spectators, numbering in the hundreds, gather daily at the venue to witness the thrilling matches unfold. 

In this traditional archery tournament, teams must achieve victory by completing two sets of 25 points each. The tournament follows a direct knockout format, adding an extra layer of intensity to each match. 

Participants and spectators alike recognise the significance of promoting traditional archery, with some schools even reintroducing competitions focused on this age-old sport.

Organised by the Bhutan Indigenous Games and Sports Association (BIGSA), the tournament kicked off on February 5 to coincide with the birth anniversary of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck. Due to safety concerns, BIGSA exclusively hosts major traditional archery tournaments at the Changlimithang archery range.

While safety measures are in place, there is a noted shortage of BIGSA officials to oversee spectator activity at the venue. 

The tournament is expected to conclude on either March 9 or 10, promising more thrilling matches and opportunities to celebrate Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage through the sport of archery.