Thinley Namgay

Archers are undergoing training to draw compound bows safely at the Changlimithang archery range. 

The training is organised by the Bhutan Indigenous Games and Sports Association (BIGSA).

BIGSA official, Tshewang Namgay, said that the training was an impetus to prevent side and sky drawing of the bow before taking aim at the target. “Side and sky drawing are dodgy, and BIGSA worries about this. The majority of casualties usually occur when the archer isn’t attentive or due to unsafe drawing technique.”

Three officials from BIGSA are facilitating the training.  It is free and open to all.

“If archers follow the safe bow draw technique, risks will be minimised because an arrow will remain within the range,” said Tshewang Namgay.

After this training, BIGSA will not allow the players, who are inclined to side and sky drawing in the upcoming national compound archery tournaments, he said. “Such rules won’t apply for traditional bow archers.”

However, human resource and financial constraint is the main challenge for BIGSA to implement the same rules in all 20 dzongkhags.  At present, BIGSA has no dzongkhag coordinator.

The discussion was ongoing in BIGSA on whether to give a certificate or card to the archers, who have undergone the training.

Tshewang Namgay said a card system was needed as proof of archers using the compound bow for sustainable archery safety. “Archery range owners across the country will allow archers only after producing the card.”

The training, which began in February, has trained more than 190 archers so far.

Archer Nidup, 65, said that such training was necessary. “I also trained with my German instructor in the past, but still this training is useful. Nowadays, the majority use a compound bow and arrow, which is risky.”

“Safety measures and proper releasing technique are a must for all the archers,” he said.

BIGSA had offered similar training in 2016 and 2017 to all the dzongkhags.  BIGSA plans to conduct more training in other dzongkhags when the pandemic situation subsides.