Chhukha dzongkhag taekwondo association’s (DTA) champion, Karma D Lhamo was its best hope at the Korea Cup Kyorogi and the 3rd national Poomsae and Breaking taekwondo championship that began at Thimphu on September 23.

The 14-year-old bagged a gold in the Kyorugi, under 42-kilogramme women category and two bronze in Poomsae.

Kyorugi is duel fighting competition, while Poomsae is a set of sequential taekwondo movement demonstrations.

Despite having been only four years into martial arts, Karma D Lhamo today is with the black belt and won around 25 medals from local competitions.

“Taekwondo is my passion, I worked hard for the medals and I’m excited that my effort is rewarded,” Karma D Lhamo said. “Hard work made this possible and I’m happy for it.”

Before joining a taekwondo club, Karma D Lhamo began learning the skills from her mother, who for long aspired to become a formal player but never got the chance. Her father Pema Drakpa was a taekwondo player. Today, he helps her with training and sparring.

“My mother taught me the basics by watching taekwondo programmes on television. My father wanted to become a Taekwondo coach but could not,” she said.

While she has lived her mother’s dream, Karma D Lhamo aspires to one day fulfil her father’s wish by becoming a taekwondo coach.

Karma D Lhamo said that the taekwondo is for self defence only.

She said that the sport has helped her improve in studies.

“The sport requires hundred times of practice to perfect one kick. This helped me develop my concentration and confidence,” she said, adding that it has helped her manage time.

She said if she were not into it, she would have spent her time watching television and wasted time.

“We get to meet lots of friends in the training,” she said.

Chhukha DTA won the championship after its team bagged 88 medals including 56 gold, 27 silver, and 5 bronze with the cash prize of Nu 20,000 along with the trophy.

Wangdue DTA were first runners-up with 77 medals and received Nu 15,000 with a trophy. Thimphu DTA stood third with 62 medals. They were given a cash prize of Nu 10,000 with a trophy.

Master Phurba Dorji of Chhukha DTA said that his players’ performance in the national championship was constant.

“However, the challenge at the grassroots is not having enough equipment and funds to conduct more competitions that would help to promote the sport and develop the potential of players,” he said.

A program officer at Bhutan Taekwondo Federation, Sonam Tshewang said that the tournament this year saw more female participants.

“In the past there was a huge difference in the number of male and female participants. The difference this year is only about 10 percent,” he said.

A total of 316 players from 10 DTA and four taekwondo clubs from Thimphu and Chhukha took part in the two-day national championship. The event ended on September 24.

The tournament also marked the celebration of 30 years of diplomatic relations between Korea and Bhutan.