Karma Phuntsho Choden, a 14-year-old student at Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School realised that she could discover the best part of her through athletics.

While in school, she would be only in three places – classroom, Library, and washroom. At home, she would mostly be watching television and playing mobile games on her mother’s phone.

“I would be home always. I was not open and outgoing. I hesitated to talk with friends. I am different from how I was a year ago. I love the best kind of me now,” Karma Phuntsho Choden said.

It was in September last year when she competed in the long jump during her school’s sports day. It was her first athletic competition.

“I won gold at the event. That helped me gain confidence and felt proud of myself. The moment changed my life,” she said.

She continued her athletic training thereafter. She said that the sport helped her make new friends while training together. “It was difficult to talk in the beginning. But as the training went on, I had a good number of friends.”

Karma Phuntsho Choden was an average student before getting into sports.

“I study after training feeling refreshed. It helps me study better. I used to be lazy before,” she said.

It was her father who got her into athletics.

“My father always encouraged me to be open. He was an adventurist, but I was different. He would take us out for treat and shopping when I come home with medals,” Karma Phuntsho Choden said.

She is among the 600 students from the families of armed forces who are currently attending Camp Raven in Thimphu. At the camp’s sports day yesterday, she was one the highest medal winner.

“I feel proud to present these to my parents. I think I have spent the vacation meaningfully,” she said.  “The camp provides opportunity and platform to participate in the events we are good at. It helps us quit bad habits.”

She added that the camp has a supportive environment.  “The officials support and encourage us. We learn essential life skills and knowledge that help us improve.”

Camp Raven was started as a Yes Camp in 2011. It was initialised as Camp Raven in 2012.

Camp Coordinator Namzay Kumutha said that the vacation is the time when the children get into trouble and unhealthy activities. “We keep them engaged by organising more of physical activities. We give them inspirational talks and life lessons.”