Thinley Namgay

As the highly-anticipated Asian Games (AG) in China draw near, three talented boxers from the Bhutan Boxing Federation (BBF) are intensifying their training in hopes of making their mark on the international stage.

Out of the 30 national athletes set to represent Bhutan in the upcoming AG, the three boxers selected from the BBF are gearing up for the rigorous competition. For the past five months, the boxers have been engaged in intensive training at the swimming pool sports complex in Thimphu.

This year’s AG will mark Bhutan’s fourth appearance in boxing. The BBF first participated in the AG in 2010, followed by appearances in 2014 and 2018.

Despite their commendable performance in international competitions, which has resulted in 54 medals comprising one gold, eight silver, and 45 bronze, Bhutan is yet to secure a medal at the AG.

Among the three boxers, two are soldiers—21-year-old Tashi Yoezer and 29- year-old Dorji Wangdi. The selection process for the boxers took into consideration their international performance, training etiquette, and physical competency.

Expressing his excitement, Tashi Yoezer, said, “I am thrilled about the upcoming games as it will be my first international competition. My aim is to bring home a medal for the country.”

Boxing has been an integral part of Yoezer’s life since a young age, drawing inspiration from his father who is also a boxer. He joined the BBF nine years ago and undergoes regular training at the swimming pool sports complex, in addition to personal training. 

Dorji Wangdi also joined the BBF nine years ago and participated in the 2018 AG held in Indonesia. With the advantage of experience and ongoing rigorous training, Wangdi expressed confidence for the upcoming AG. “I will give it my best shot,” he said.

For Tenzin Drugyel, 26, this year marks his 16th year with the BBF. Drugyel competed in the 2018 AG, where he reached the quarterfinals before losing to North Korea. 

Having represented the country in eight international competitions thus far, Drugyel remains optimistic. “The current training setup is comfortable, and we are putting in our best efforts. I am hoping to secure a medal,” he said.

Head coach of the BBF, Tashi Phuntsho, highlighted the significance of the AG, noting its resemblance to the Olympics as many Olympic champions hail from Asia. “I have full confidence in my boxers, and our aim is to secure victories.”