Olympics: Bhutanese archer Karma may be out of the Rio Olympics but the 26-year-old athlete went down in style.

Although winning a medal at the grandest stage of them all: the Olympics, still remains a far-flung dream for Bhutan, Karma’s performance against the fifth-ranked Tuiana Dashidorzhieva of Russia indicates that realising that dream may not be too far off.

The Russian World number 11 was in for a surprise when Karma who is seeded 229 in the World Rankings drew three of the five sets the two women shot during the first round of the elimination rounds yesterday in Rio.

In the first set, of the possible 30 points from three arrows, both the archers made 26 points. The second set went in favour of the Russian and she made 28 points against 21 of Karma.

It was in the third and fourth sets when the lower ranked athlete from Bhutan took her much experienced opponent by surprise and equaled both the sets at 26 and 27 points respectively.

Tuiana Dashidorzhieva however, proved herself and won the last set and the match and entered the second round of the eliminations.

Despite the loss, Karma proved to be a worthy opponent to the much higher ranked Russian said the general secretary of Bhutan Archery Federation (BAF), Tsewang Rinchen.

“Despite being ranked low, Karma’s performance was very high, a performance that we can all be proud of,” said Tsewang Rinchen.

The general secretary added that given the position where the Bhutanese archers stand today, Karma’s achievement at the Olympics should encourage young archers to take up the game.

While the season’s point is a point lower than Karma’s all time high score in the international arena, what distances Karma from her peers is the ability to maintain scores that are similar to her home ground ones, said Tsewang Rinchen. He added that often times, athletes across all the disciplines usually score less in international competition than at home.

Karma’s home scores are currently the highest among her peers in the country. The 26-year-old, who hails from Trashiyangtse, trains for almost 12 hours on a regular basis with the federation.

Karma has represented the country in several international competitions but Rio is her maiden appearance at the Olympics. Karma was the flag bearer during the opening parade at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Tsewang Rinchen said that with the continued support from the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) under the patronage of HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, the president of BOC and the vision of the BAF president, Ugyen Rinzin, and the hard work and dedication of the archers, archery in Bhutan will grow further.

“This is just the beginning. We should be doing much better than this in the coming international competitions,” said Tsewang Rinchen.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minster who is currently in Bumthang acknowledged through social media the performance of the two Bhutanese athletes representing the country in Rio.

Younten Tshedup