Profile: Bhutanese athletes managed to bag 16 medals from the 12th South Asian Games at Guwahati and Shillong in India last month. This was the highest number of medals won by the Bhutanese athletes in an international competition.

Among the Bhutanese group was the youngest every to bring home a medal. Karma Wangmo the 14-year-old taekwondo athlete won a bronze in the competition. This was Karma Wangmo’s debut appearance in an international competition.

Karma Wangmo doesn’t talk much. Trained and groomed by her father, Karma Yoezer, who is a taekwondo master himself, Karma Wangmo has been playing the sport from age of seven.

“My father introduced the sport to me and my siblings. He has been my inspiration throughout my journey,” said Karma Wangmo. “I want to become like my father and, if possible, surpass his talent in the future.”

Born and raised in Thimphu, Karma Wangmo has been into sports from early on. She is a Class VIII student of Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School. Karma Wangmo is also a member of her school’s football and basketball team.

Karma Yoezer said that his daughter has been winning every tournaments organized by the schools. “As a master and not as a father, I would like to say that Karma is a very good student and a fast learner,” he said. “So far, she has managed to win gold in every inter-school taekwondo competition.”

Karma Wangmo won her first senior-level gold at the 12th national taekwondo competition last year.

Karma’s mother, Ugyen Lhamo, said that she was overjoyed with the news when she heard that her daughter had won a medal at the South Asian Games. “We were glued to the television that day. She made us all proud. We are a proud parent and we’ll do everything possible to help her attain greater successes in life.”

Except for her mother, all the members of Karma’s family are into taekwondo. Her two siblings, elder brother and sister, are both black belters like her.

“Sports are a good way to instil disciplines into children,” said Karma Yoezer. “I wanted my children to be disciplined and successful.”

Karma Wangmo is very punctual. She got that from taekwondo.

“She is very particular about her school and training timing,” said Karma’s father. “She doesn’t like to get late to any function and for that matter she plans everything precisely.”

Karma regularly goes to train after school hours at the Swimming Pool Complex with her father. She is training herself for the 6th ‘Children of Asia’ International Sports Games in Yakutsk, Sakha Republic in Russia in July later this year.

Karma said that she would like to continue practising taekwondo and keep improving. “At the next South Asian games in Nepal, my primary focus will be to win a gold for our country,” she said.

She added that after continuing her education, she would like to become an engineer in the future.

Younten Tshedup