Rinchen Zangmo | Tsirang

Despite Tsirang’s central location and favourable weather, lack of budget has constrained the dzongkhag’s sports association (TSA) from organising as many events as possible.

The issue was discussed at one of the sports meeting in the dzongkhag recently.

TSA General Secretary Sangay Chophel said the association has almost no savings. TSA saves about 10 percent of the fees from a tournament.

“But it is nominal. For instance, we recently conducted a basketball tournament but only Nu 6, 000 could be saved. There is no fee for marathon and the saving from Table Tennis tournament is insignificant..”

Only about Nu 2,000 is charged for football matches while football matches for women are free. Tournament involving students are also free of charge. 

Tsirang took over the artificial turf from Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) early this year. However, there is concern regarding its sustainability.

Assistant auditor general, Minjur Dorji, said that the responsibility of replacing and maintaining the turf also becomes that of TSA. “If it has to be replaced, it will be our responsibility. We decided to save a certain percentage from the fees collected from matches.”

He said that unlike in Thimphu, sometimes the turf remains idle for days. “There are matches on weekends. The overall savings remain small.”

Inter-dzongkhag tournament was also conducted this month in which 13 teams participated.

Sangay Chophel said that at the dzongkhag level, technical coaches could make a difference in specialisation and promotion of sports. “We also try to reappropriate budgets if one sport has budget.”

Officials said that football and archery were two popular sports. They said that there were opportunities for other sports such as swimming and chess, among others.

With more people participating in sports, officials are optimistic.

It was learnt that a proposal regarding the swimming facilities was submitted to avail of budget from the dzongkhag development grant.

Sangay Chophel said. “If the proposal is not through, we have to look for other sources of funding.”

Recently, the association conducted a day-long indigenous games festival to promote traditional games in Olympics style to create awareness about the games.

Soon flood lights would be installed at the football ground and officials feel it would lead to more matches.

Programme officer with Bhutan Olympic Committee, Tshering Dema said that Tsirang was one of the active dzongkhags. “For active sports associations, more funds are allocated. Tsirang was allocated more budget than most dzongkhags.”

She said that having a plan to sustain these games was important.