Thinley Namgay  

The ongoing lockdown has deferred athletes to engage in regular practice for the upcoming Asian Games (AG).

The 19th AG will take place in China in September with the motto “heart to heart”. The host city is Hangzhou. 

Around 45 Asian Countries will contest in 61 disciplines (40 sports).

The continental multi-sport events called AG or Asiad happens every four years like the Olympics.

An official from the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) said the athletes were informed to engage in self-training at home amid the lockdown. “Athletes will resort to rigorous training after the lockdown.”

Bhutan will participate in nine sports this year. BOC official said the organisers have not shown any sign of cancelling the AG as of now. “Games will take place as per the schedule.”

As per the government’s recent notification, sporting activities will resume from April 25.

Some sports will witness inclusivity.

The Bhutan Archery Federation, in collaboration with the BOC and Woezer Events, is introducing Bhutan Grand Prix,  the first open international style compound archery tournament to take place in Thimphu among Bhutanese.

After the tournament, eight players will be shortlisted, and four will be selected to represent Bhutan in the upcoming AG.

During the 2018 AG in Indonesia, 24 Bhutanese athletes, including nine women, competed in archery, golf, boxing, and taekwondo. However, athletes exited without a medal.

Bhutan has taken part in the AG since 1986 without a break, but the country is yet to bag a medal.

Olympic Council of Asia has been regulating the AG since 1986. Before that, it was coordinated by the Asian Games Federation.   The first AG was held in India in 1951.