Thinley Namgay 

Bhutan Indigenous Games and Sports Association (BIGSA) has been exploring ways to relocate the Changlimithang archery ranges to prevent casualties.

However, a major hurdle is the lack of land to shift the two existing archery ranges.

The proximity to other sports grounds, athletes, commuters and vehicles, drinking habits and carelessness of the archers, inadequate training for the archers and safety measures, and lack of stringent rules by the BIGSA, have made the archery ranges unsafe over the years.

BIGSA’s official, Tshewang Namgay said: “We understand the problems at Changlimithang. So far, we looked for the appropriate land to move it, but getting acres of land is challenging.”

“After acquiring the land, we have to do many side works, which is expensive. BIGSA will ensure additional safety facilities and strict rules for the archers at Changlimithang.”

BIGSA refrained compound archers from regular practice at the Changlimithang from last month. This was initiated as per the notification from the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC)  that insist on allowing only traditional archery activities owing to archery mishaps.

BIGSA’s Tshewang Namgay said: “The BIGSA organises two important compound archery tournaments. This will be as usual.”

BOC also asked the BIGSA to identify state land to establish the new compound archery range and explore the possibility of relocating its office from the Changlimithang Stadium.

Many say both compound and traditional archery practice or competitions should be banned at Changlimithang, as both are equally risky.

Tshewang Namgay said that if BIGSA gets the land, it is definite that the current archery ranges would be relocated. “Our aim is to shift the archery ranges at Changlimithang in future.”

So far, BIGSA has been working on installing safety fences, safety walls and signboards around the archery range to maintain safety. Since 2014, safe bow-drawing training for compound archers was also initiated.

Officials also said that BIGSA plans to start a certificate system for the compound archers if they wish to play at Changlimithang.