Thinley Namgay

Boxers Tashi Yoezer, Tashi Wangdi and coach Tashi Phuntsho will return home before the 2024 Boxing World Qualification Tournament ends on June 2 in Bangkok, Thailand.  

The tournament was crucial to secure a quota for the Paris Olympics in July. However, team Bhutan couldn’t manage a single win. Both Tashi Yoezer and Tashi Wangdi lost against boxers from Germany and Venezuela, respectively, in the preliminary round.

However, the boxing officials applauded Tashi Wangdi for fighting all three rounds against a seasoned boxer from Venezuela. Tashi Yoezer exited after the second round.  

Coach Tashi Phuntsho said, “Despite lacking in preparation for the qualifier, the boys did well. Compared to other nations who spend huge amounts on Olympic preparation, we did quite well even with this minimal investment.” 

He said that to qualify for the Olympics, collaborative efforts are required. “We all need to wake up and check what’s happening around and how things are done in other countries for the Olympics.”

Tashi Phuntsho said qualifying for the Olympics is challenging. He said even India, with a population of 1.4 billion and a huge budget, is finding it hard to qualify.  

Tashi is optimistic about working hard hereafter and finding solutions to problems that hinder the growth of boxing, and concentrating on building good boxers who can at least do well in international matches.

Despite the elimination, Tashi Yoezer and Tashi Wangdi might get into the Olympics through a wild card entry.

Boxing officials said that the deadline for the wild card entry application is yet to be confirmed by the International Boxing Federation and the Paris Olympics Committee.

The duo also lost the qualification match in April in Italy.  

Around 600 boxers from over 130 countries are participating in the qualification tournament.

The Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) plans to select three athletes from boxing, recurve archery, and swimming for the upcoming Olympics. However, it is uncertain whether the athletes from these selected sports will qualify.

Now Bhutan’s hope for the Olympics quota relies on two archers and two swimmers whose final qualification tournament is in the pipeline.

If none of the athletes win a quota, sports federations and the BOC will have to rely on a wild card entry.

To secure an Olympic quota, all athletes have to go through a competitive qualification round, which has been challenging for Bhutan since its participation in the games in 1984.  

So far, Bhutan has won only one Olympic quota in recurve archery during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan.