Boxing: Boxing in Bhutan has been limited to the army since the establishment of the Bhutan Boxing Federation in 1983. Although interested in the sport, civilians didn’t get the opportunity to take part in the game.
With the introduction of the country’s first private boxing club, Druk Thimphu Boxing Club, things are beginning to change.
Sigyel Phub, a retired soldier and an ex-national boxer dreamt of establishing a boxing club for civilians who share interest for the sport. The 32-year-old finally managed to start a club in Thimphu this year.
“I always thought that Bhutanese have the ability to do great in this sport,” said Sigyel Phub. “Since this is an individual sport, I believe that many Bhutanese youth have the potential, even at an international level.”
The club is located at the Changlimithang Stadium but due to the recent renovation of the stadium Sigyel Phub is training his members at the synthetic track in Lungtenzampa.
“It’s been four months since we have been practicing in the open. It is not much of a problem for us,” said Sigyel Phub. At the moment, Sigyel teaches basic boxing skills and techniques including footwork and punches.
Sigyel Phub wants to equip his club with all the necessary facilities once the renovation of the stadium is completed. “There’s always a difference in practising at a well equipped gym and in the open field,” he said. “I want to train my students in the most professional manner possible.”
Sigyel Phub has ordered equipment worth Nu 200,000 for his club. He said that without a proper job, it is difficult to run the club. Apart from running the club, Sigyel Phub drives a taxi in Thimphu to meet expenses.
Sigyel Phub has two bronze and a silver medal under his belt. His dream to win the gold for the country remains unfulfilled yet. But he is certain that one his students will achieve this dream of his.
“I want to see my students at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. That would be my greatest achievement,” said Sigyel Phub, who added that His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, president of Bhutan Olympic Committee, motivated him to impart the knowledge and experience he had gained over the years to the young generations.
“There are many individuals outside the army who want to take up boxing, but due to the lack of opportunities many don’t get the chance to showcase their talents,” said the one-time national boxer.
Sigyel Phub believes that his club will provide the much-needed platform for upcoming boxers in the country.