Chhukha taekwondo association won the fifth national junior and senior taekwondo black belt championship yesterday in Thimphu, making it the reining champion for five consecutive years.

Mongar dzongkhag stood second and Paro dzongkhag, third.

Chhukha dzongkhag won five gold medals, three silver and as many bronzes in the junior category. The team bagged two gold medals, three silver and five bronze in the senior category. There are two national players in the team.

Coach Phurba Dorji said the athletes did a month long intensive training and selected the best players from the dzongkhag level competitions. “We need to encourage athletes to achieve better results. We reward medal winners with prizes.”

Chhukha dzongkhag has the highest number of students taking up the sport. There are more than 800 students practising the art of physical and mental development. The dzongkhag level competition in Chhukha takes around five days while it takes around two in the rest of the dzongkhag tournaments.

Karma Yangchen from Chhukha said the team trained hard and received good support from coaches while preparing for the competition. “We are happy that we won the championship for the fifth time. We trained hard and we came here to win as we were past winners,” she said. “Many take part for fun and the dzongkhag administration rewarding winners of national championship encouraged us to train hard.”

She added that one should also be skillful and good to encourage others to take up the sport. “It keeps us healthy and fit. It’s a self-defense sport and helps us become confident.”

The runners-up team, Mongar dzongkhag won five gold medals, a silver and six bronze in the junior category, and won two gold, four silver and two bronze in the senior category. Second runners-up, Paro dzongkhag won three gold, six silver and two bronze in the junior category and bagged a gold, a silver and two bronze in the senior category.

This championship saw Paro dzongkhag team winning the top three place for the first time. Paro taekwondo association has reached the sport to more than 12 schools. Today, more than 350 students are engaged in the annual coaching and competitions.

Paro dzongkhag coach Kiba Dhendup said the team hoped to come second. “Good players did not perform as expected while average players fetched unexpected results. We got to be fortunate sometimes.”

More than 200 students from 14 dzongkhags took part in the championship that began on January 26 to nominate the best players for the national team selection. The tournament saw Trongsa dzongkhag winning a bronze medal. The dzongkhag finished last.