Thinley Namgay    

Sapuna Subba, a Class XII student of Gesarling Central School in Dagana, is representing Bhutan in badminton at the 2021 Asian Youth Para Games (AYPG) in Bahrain, which began on December 2.

Sapuna, 20, is classified in the standing or short stature category. She is competing in singles and mixed doubles.

Two Bhutanese athletes and three officials reached Bahrain last week.

Long jump participant, Mani Kumar Rai, a low vision student of Khaling Muenselling Institute, could not pass the classification stage on December 1, as his impairment was ineligible in para-sports.

In para-athletics, there are three classes for visual impairment: T11 (totally blind), T12 (partially sighted), and T13 (slightly low vision).

Classification is to ensure fair competition.

A Bhutan Paralympic Committee (BPC) official said that the athletes were selected via a talent identification programme organised by the BPC during the 2021 Paralympic Festival in Trashigang and the Bhutan Badminton Federation’s coaching camp in Dagana.

“We expect athletes to learn from the AYPG in terms of exposure and learn the international performance standards so that they can mentally and physically prepare for upcoming international games,” a BPC official said.

The AYPG is a multi-sport event held every four years for young athletes with impairment.

More than 1,500 participants from 31 Asian countries have arrived to participate in the AYPG to compete in nine sporting events: Athletics, Badminton, Boccia, Goalball, Para-Taekwondo, Powerlifting, Swimming, Table Tennis, and Wheelchair Basketball.

With the theme “Together Rising Stronger”, the competition is taking place at Khalifa Sports City and Isa Sports City.

The third AYPG was held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, in 2017.

The 2021 AYPG will end on December 8.