Thinley Namgay

Bhutanese karatekas Tshering Phuntsho and Passang Tobgay secured bronze medals for the country at the Seventh South Asian Karate Championship held in Kathmandu, Nepal, between November 28 and December 3.

Team Bhutan, comprising two players and two officials, returned to Thimphu on December 4. Both participants were soldiers  and lost in the semifinals.  

Tshering Phuntsho settled for bronze following a defeat against an opponent from Nepal in the Kumite senior category -60kg. He lost 0-2.

Tshering Phuntsho said, “I tried my best in this championship. Confidence is important in such a major tournament. I will keep training to secure gold in the future.”

He added that competing in other countries provides a platform to learn from others. In the last two years, Tshering Phuntsho left his mark on the international level.

Tshering acquired silver in the under-60 kg individual senior kumite in the BG Karate Championship in Bangladesh and a bronze medal in the Sixth South Asian Karate Championship in Sri Lanka last year.  

Tshering Phuntsho, from the Royal Bhutan Army, also took part in the 19th Asian Games in China in October.   

Passang Tobgay is from the Royal Bhutan Police and is relatively new to karate. He secured bronze in the Kumite +84kg Senior Category after losing to Sri Lanka. He was defeated 0-3.

Passang was also the gold medalist in the -81kg weight category at the prestigious Indian Martial Arts Sansthan Karate Championship held in India in May of this year.

Karate coach Tshering Dorji attributes the success in this championship to good preparation before the competition.

He said that game exposure is crucial for athletes, and the Bhutan Karate Association is planning to send the senior team to Kalimpong, India, for the tournament early next year.