YK Poudel

Baseball and softball have grown in popularity since 2013, capturing the attention of young people.

In light of this, the Bhutan Baseball and Softball Association (BBSA) convened a congress conference yesterday in Thimphu, which has served as a critical point in discussion over the years.

Within a few years of its creation, the BBSA had over 2,000 registered members who participated in training sessions and leagues across the country.

Karma Dorji, President of the BBSA, stated that players and coaches from the BBSA routinely attend the programmes and are interested in promoting them. “We are inspired to develop Bhutanese players to compete at the highest levels, both domestically and internationally, as well as to provide scholarship opportunities.”

He said: “Baseball players need strong throwing arms, quick reflexes, a tough temperament, good hand-eye coordination, and flowing momentum with their swings.”

As of now, the association has been practising baseball and softball at Motithang HSS in the absence of a dedicated pitch.

Sanjeevan Raj Gurung, technical head of BBSA, said that the objective of BBSA is to promote baseball and softball to remote places of Bhutan and provide platforms for young talents. “Through dzongkhag tours, online coaching courses, school grass-root programmes and leagues, we could reach out to interested members from five dzongkhags.”

Bhutan, he said, now has a baseball national team for boys and softball national team for girls and 67 trained coaches.

Bhutan Olympics Committee (BOC), he said, has for the first time provided two slots for sports scholarships in the country starting this year.

BBSA is organising softball camps and introductory sessions in the country starting from Paro next year.

BBSA is also trying to take the game beyond Thimphu. Once the dzongkhag tours commence, BBSA is planning to get potential players from other dzongkhags and train them for the national team.

Karma Dorji and an American, Matthew DeSantis, founded the BBSA as a community organisation that includes youth practices, and games for children aged between six and 18 years are part of BBSA as of today.

Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), Japan International Cooperation Agency Bhutan (JICA), World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC), Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA), and Softball Asia (SA) have been helping in grooming baseball and softball in Bhutan.