Archery ranges need more safety

Thinley Namgay 

The stray arrow has become a major concern for Thimphu residents where the number of archery range has been growing over the years.

There are around 20 archery ranges between Dechencholing and Khasadrapchu, mostly near roads or houses, posing a danger to commuters and residents.

At the archery range near Royal Thimphu College (RTC), the problem has been growing.   Within less than a year, nine mishaps have occurred.

Alcohol consumption among players is one of the main reasons.

Kinley Tshering, 64, said that archery is Bhutan’s national game but mishaps could be more lethal if safety measures are not put in place. “Of the six stray arrows, which came towards my home, three came right in front of my front door.”

The archery range near RTC was completed last year.  Dzongkhag officials use the range most of the time.

“Thimphu dzongkhag administration didn’t seek permission from the local people. After completing, dzongdag and dzongrab promised us that they’d put 100 percent safety measures,” said Kinley Tshering.

Indra Galley’s home was also hit by the arrow thrice.

“I’m worried. Recently, when the arrow hit the roof of my house, one of the archers gave Nu 300 to my husband requesting not to report to anyone,” said Indra Galley.

“Players are drunk most of the time,” she said.

There are no safety walls at Changbangdu archery range.   Tshering Chek’s house is very close to this archery range.

“Sometimes arrows land in my vegetable garden. It’s scary. Whenever there’s a match, we have to stay inside the house,” Tshering Cheki said.  There are around seven houses near the range.

The two national archery ranges at Changlimithang also need more safety measures.  One side of the range is facing Lungtenzampa, and the other Changlimithang sports complex.  These are the busiest public places.

Bhutan Indigenous Games and Sports Association’s coordinator, Tshewang Namgay, said that the safety barriers would be increased, and the association would increase its technical team.

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