Thinley Namgay 

In a much-anticipated event for Bhutan, two skilled shooters from the Bhutan Shooting Federation (BSF) are gearing up to represent their country at the upcoming Asian Games (AG) in China. 

This marks Bhutan’s second involvement in shooting at the prestigious tournament since the 2014 AG in Incheon, South Korea.

The 10 metres (m) air rifle category will see the seasoned Olympian Lenchu Kunzang in action, while Tandin Wangchuk will be competing in the 10m air pistol event. 

The journey to the AG began with the general practice sessions at the Changlimithang Sports Complex in Thimphu back in 2019, and over the past year, both athletes have been undergoing intensive training, even incorporating yoga sessions to enhance their precision.

Lenchu Kunzang, 29, is a police in the capital city. With an impressive tally of 15 international appearances under her belt, she was the first shooter from Bhutan to participate in the 2014 AG in South Korea. On that occasion, she achieved a score of 398.5 points out of 654, securing the 47th position among 54 competitors. 

Having also competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Lenchu remains optimistic about the upcoming AG and aims for a better result than her personal record of 618.1 points out of 654 achieved in Tokyo.

Lenchu expressed her confidence in the ongoing training, stating, “I used to get 630 points. If I could maintain this benchmark at the AG, there is a possibility that I can land in the top eight. I will do my best,” adding that she is thrilled to compete against world-class athletes in the event.

The 10m air rifle category at the AG will involve all contestants shooting 60 bullets, each worth 10.9 points, resulting in a total of 654 points. However, only the top eight performers will proceed to the final round.

For Tandin Wangchuk, 21, the upcoming AG represents his debut on the international stage. Joining the BSF in 2018, Tandin has been training diligently, currently achieving 563 points in practice. Looking forward to the AG, he aims to give his best regardless of the outcome, emphasising that the experience at the tournament is expected to boost his confidence and exposure in the sport.

As part of their AG preparation, Tandin also underwent a nine-day training programme  in Kuwait this year, training alongside athletes from 45 other countries.

Coach Kunzang Choden is confident in the abilities of both shooters, stating, “Lenchu is an experienced athlete with good international game exposure. Although Tandin is relatively new to shooting, his skills are commendable. I expect both of them to perform well at the AG.”