Thinley Namgay 

Tandin Wangchuk beat Tenzin Singye Dorji in two straight sets to lift the 4th Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel National Open Tennis Championship trophy in the men’s singles category at the Changlimithang tennis ground in Thimphu yesterday.

Despite the strong opposition from Tenzin Singye Dorji, the 2019 South Asian Games bronze medalist, Tandin Wangchuk won the first set 7-5.

In the best-of-three match, Tandin Wangchuk cruised to an easy win in the second set, winning it 6-1. Both of them are national players.

A 27-year-old pilot with Druk Air, Tandin Wangchuk was awarded a cash prize of Nu 25,000. Tenzin Singye Dorji received Nu 15,000.

Tandin Wangchuk from Thimphu said that despite limited practice, he was able to perform well in the tournament. “I was glad that my opponent in the final was Tenzin Singye Dorji. He is a good player.”

He said parental support is one of the essential components to engage youth in tennis. “Parents must take the initiative. For instance, my parents encouraged me. Besides an interest in tennis from an early age, I also play football.”

A second-year student at Gedu College of Business Studies, Tenzin Singye Dorji, said that he took leave for a week to play in the tournament.

He said that he couldn’t play tennis for two years. “I came to the tournament without practice, but I did my best. I will work hard to make my mother proud.”

The other categories in the tournament that started on October 9 were women’s singles, veteran’s singles, and men’s lucky mixed doubles.

Sushila Rai won the women’s singles category and received a cash prize of Nu 18,000. It was the third consecutive win for Sushila Rai. The Executive Director of the Bhutan Cancer Society, Sonam Yangchen, who came second, got Nu 10,000.

In the veteran’s singles, Lieutenant (Lt) Colonel Sonam Gyeltshen of the Royal Bhutan Army beat Doshing Lepcha to grab the first prize of Nu 10,000.  Doshing Lepcha got Nu 7,000.

In the lucky doubles category, Lt Colonel Sonam Gyeltshen and Tenzin Singye Dorji defeated Birman Rai and Thinley Samdrup. The winners were awarded Nu 8,000 each, and runners-up got Nu 5,000 each.

Her Royal Highness Princess Dechan Yangzom Wangchuck awarded the prizes.

Around 60 participants between 16-65 years, mostly from Thimphu, participated in the tournament organised by the Bhutan Tennis Federation (BTF).

The tournament is an annual BTF event to celebrate the birth anniversary of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey.

BTF General Secretary, Tshering Namgay, said that the tournament was the first tournament organised by the federation after 18 months amid the pandemic. “The people from other dzongkhags were unable to take part, due to the ongoing pandemic.”

BTF’s Vice President Tshewang Jurmi said that the tennis competition has potential as a platform to address the growing youth-related issues by providing them with an opportunity to engage and exhibit their talents.