Thinley Namgay 

Bhutan Archery Federation (BAF) organised a two-day friendly archery tournament between Bhutan and Japan. The tournament was conducted without archers coming out in the archery ground. It was conducted virtually.

The tournament that began on August 1 was conducted using the Zoom app where players and officials from the two countries could view the score and archers shooting.

Archers competed in two different categories – individual qualification and the mixed round. Sixteen players took part in a 70-metre archery range in the respective country using recurve bow. Eleven players were from three teams of Japan-SEISA, Elite Academy and the national team.

Five archers from Bhutan including para archer Pema Rigsel played at Langjophakha archery range in Thimphu.

BAF archers stood second in the mixed category by losing to the national team of Japan. Both the teams had a tie with four points each in the initial rounds, but BAF players lost 16-20 in an added round.

BAF archer Karma set her new record. After shooting six arrows for six rounds twice, she scored 656 points from a total of 720 points.  “I have practised consistently at home during the pandemic. It paid off. I will work hard to play in the Olympics.” Despite qualifying for the Olympics in Japan through a  quota, Karma still has to hit the minimum qualifying score of 605 points.

Another BAF archer, Sonam Dema defeated Karma 6-2 points and headed to the third-place match, but she lost to Japanese national player, Juri Shibuya 4-6. Sonam Dema said that she could have grabbed the third position if her final round went well. “Of the three arrows, one landed at a five-pointer which pulled down my aggregate.”

BAF’s head coach and a Korean olympian, Park Young Sook, said that Bhutanese archers had played well despite limited practice sessions. “I will continue the virtual competitions with other countries to engage the players until the covid situation subsides.”

This is the third time BAF has organised an online competition amid Covid-19. Tournaments were also organised with South Korea and Chinese Taipei to meaningfully engaged players and to understand the standard of foreign players.