Thinley Namgay 

Team Bhutan took part in the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan yesterday, along with athletes from 162 other nations.

This is the first time Bhutanese para-athletes are taking part in the popular international event since the inception of Bhutan Paralympic Committee in 2017.

Para-athlete Chimi Dema, from Mongar, was the flag bearer of Bhutan. The other two participants are 28-year-old para-athlete Gyeltshen from Trashiyangtse and para-archer Pema Rigsel, 34, from Thimphu.

Chimi Dema said that it was a proud moment for her.

Three participants are accompanied by two coaches and an official from the Bhutan Olympic Committee.

In the first event for the country on August 27, Pema Rigsel will participate in the men’s individual recurve archery qualification round at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field.

On August 29 and September 4, para-athletes Gyeltshen and Chimi Dema will take part in the men’s F40, and women’s F40 shot put events at the Olympic Stadium.

The International Paralympic Committee and World Archery Federation invited Bhutan to the competition.

Many supporters including Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering conveyed their best wishes to the athletes on social media.

The theme of the 16th edition games is “United by Emotion”. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito attended the opening ceremony.

There are 4,537 para-athletes from 163 nations featuring in 22 sports, covering 539 medal events at 19 venues.

Tokyo 2020 saw the maximum number of countries and participants compared to Rio 2016 in Brazil.

During Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Paralympic Games, 4,342 athletes from 159 nations participated in 528 events in 22 sports. The games will end on September 5.

Edited by Tshering Palden