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Thinley Namgay

Bhutan is yet to receive an invitation from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for para-athletes in the field of archery and shooting to participate in the upcoming 2020 Summer Paralympics Games at Tokyo, Japan.

So far, wild card entry has been confirmed only for para-athletics Gyeltshen and Chimi Dema. They will compete in a shot put event.

Para-athletics coach, Penjore Gyeltshen, said Gyeltshen and Chimi Dema secured minimum qualifying score (MQS) during the 2019 World Para Athletics Championship in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. “For shot put, the MQS requirement for men is 6 metre (m) and 4m is for female. Gyeltshen managed 6.29m, and Chimi Dema maintained 4.51m.”

The World Para Athletics confirmed the seat for Gyeltshen and Chimi Dema on May 5.

Gyeltshen said that he and Chimi Dema were undergoing intensive training for the competition. “I am sure that the competition would be challenging because Bhutan is new to para-athletics. Other countries are advanced in terms of techniques and training level. Still then, we are working hard.”

Bhutan Olympic Committee’s (BOC) head of sports research and development division, Namgay Wangchuk, said that the BOC applied for four athletes. “Wild card application for athletics and bi-partite application for shooting and archery.”

The para archer is Pema Rigsel and the para shooter is Kinley Dem.

“I am expecting all the wild card confirmation from IPC in June. Depending on the Covid-19 situation and travel restrictions, we have to make a travel arrangement,” Namgay Wangchuk said.

Regular training session for athletes is ongoing.

Pema Rigsel secured the MQS of 575. He grabbed 601 points during the day-long national MQS competition organised by Bhutan Archery Federation as mandated by the World Archery Federation on May 15.

However, Kinley Dem said she was unlikely to get the wild card entry as she couldn’t achieve MQS. “I was supposed to go to the United Arab Emirates, Peru and Croatia for the MQS, but all these events got cancelled due to the pandemic.”

After the confirmation, Bhutan plans to go to Japan  ahead of the competition for pre-practice sessions and acclimatisation.

The 16th edition of the games will take place between August 24 and September 5.

The tournament was supposed to take place in 2020 but was deferred due to the surge in the Covid-19 pandemic cases.

This year’s Paralympics games will introduce badminton and taekwondo, replacing sailing and seven-a-side football.

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