Gasa Sports Association, Bhutan Aquatic Federation and Bhutan Paralympic Committee are now members of Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC).

Their membership was endorsed during the BOC’s 19th executive committee meeting and 3rd annual general meeting on February 12 and 13 in Paro.

Gasa Sports Association is the 15th Dzongkhag Sports Association (DSAs) to be affiliated with BOC. A membership certificate and a fund support of Nu 150,000 were awarded to the association.

Gasa dzongdag Dorji Dhradhul, also the President of the sports association said the affiliation would help in the development of sports and help the association work independently in future. “Sports events conducted before was not organised. There was no fund.”

A major sports event conducted by Gasa includes 25 kilometers Laya run held annually from Gasa to Laya during the Royal Highlander festival. They dzongkhag organised kids athletics and took part in a national sports event like Bhutan international marathon.

Meanwhile, a baseline survey conducted on Olympic day for five consecutive years by BOC found out that swimming was the new sport that most respondents wanted to experience.

To give those interested an opportunity to experience the sport with proper infrastructure and coaching, BOC endorsed Bhutan Aquatic Federation as a new national sports federation.

Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in collaboration with International Swimming Federation (FINA) and Olympic Solidarity would work towards developing swimming infrastructure in the country. The federation would look into tying up with hotels as an interim measure.

Programme officer with BOC Tshering Zangmo said swimming existed in the country as a recreational activity. “The sport can be taken up for competition now.”

With support from FINA, the federation would conduct the first swimming coaches course in April to develop capacity.

The AGM also endorsed membership for the Bhutan Paralympic Committee to achieve BOC’s aim of sending athletes with disabilities to the upcoming 2020 Summer Paralympics.

Today, the national federation has two athletes with disabilities. One paraplegic archer with Bhutan Archery Federation and the other with Bhutan Shooting Federation.