Students will practice on homemade bamboo recurve bows

Archery: All the schools in the country would initiate Olympic format archery programme with trained instructors by 2020.

Started as a pilot project by Bhutan Archery Federation (BAF) in 2014, the long-term grassroots programme aims to build base for the Bhutanese archers in recurve bow, the bow used in Olympics.

One such grassroots programme will commence in Trashigang starting today. By the end of the year, the programme would cover all schools in Trasigang and Mongar. During the pilot project phase, the programme covered only six schools in the east.

About 50 School Sports Instructors (SSI) and game in-charges from the remaining schools in Mongar and Trashigang have registered for the programme today.

BAF’s General Secretary, Tsewang Rinchen, said SSIs, physical education teachers and games in-charge are being trained using a prototype of the recurve bow made from bamboo.

Since providing all the trainees with the actual bow was expensive for the federation, he said, a simplified version of the bow was made from bamboo and used for the training.

“On an average a recurve bow would cost Nu 100,000 just for the body without any accessories,” said Tsewang Rinchen. “We have simplified and brought down the cost. We’ll further streamline the bow so that it will be easy for parents to make one for their kids.”

Tsewang Rinchen said, apart from traditional archery tournaments played in some of the schools, there are no specific platforms for archery as football or other sporting events.

“We don’t have a programme promoting our own national game in schools, it’s ironic.”

Because of these limitations, he said the selection for the national team for international competitions are also done ad hoc.

“Through this programme we want to groom children from a very young age so that over the time we can produce quality archers and have a better chance against international counterparts,” added Tsewang Rinchen.

Younten Tshedup