Thinley Namgay  

Phub Thinley, 35, and Sangay Tshering, 27, who are suffering from paraplegia and  muscular dystrophy, respectively have been staying at the Kidu guest house in Thimphu.

Phub Thinley fell from a tree nine years ago which affected his spinal cord. Sangay Tshering’s body’s became stiff all of a sudden about 10 years ago. Due to a lack of regular caregivers, they have been staying at the Kidu guest house.

Today, both are using wheelchairs and life is challenging for them. However, their disabilities didn’t stop them from taking part in sports.

Phub and Sangay are competing at the 14th Fazza International Para Athletics Championships which began on February 22 in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The event is their first international appearance.

Phub Thinley competed in discus and Sangay Tshering participated in club throw as of yesterday.

Both of them stood second last among 15 participants but coach Penjore Gyeltshen said he was happy with their performance. “Being a first international event for them, they were a bit nervous. They learnt a lot. Winning is difficult.”

On February 27, Phub Thinley hit 13.70 metres (m) in a discus event. Sangay Tshering on February 26 hit 15.34m in club throw.   Phub Thinley will compete in the shot-put event today.

Both the participants said they were glad to be part of the competition.

“We competed with advanced athletes. We tried our best,” Phub said, adding that both of them will have to train more in the future.

He said to win a medal in the international competition, he must train more to throw at least 40m.  “More competition is required within the country.”

Penjore Gyeltshen introduced Phub and Sangay to these sports.

Phub said that Penjore Gyeltshen used to come to Kidu’s guest house to help persons with disabilities.

The preparation began in 2019, but the pandemic disrupted their training. They did regular training for seven months.

The Fazza International Para Athletics Championships was started in 2009 by Dubai Club for the People of Determination under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.

This year, more than 700 athletes from 75 countries are competing.

Team Bhutan is supported by Asian Paralympic Committee and the government. The tournament will end on March 2.