Thinley Namgay   

Receiving 26 medals—11 gold, nine silver, and six bronze—Chukha HSS won the 2023 inter-school taekwondo tournament which concluded in Phuentsholing yesterday.

Chukha HSS has been a consistent team in the tournament since 2012.

A total of 179 participants from 11 schools took part in the two-day programme aimed at engaging students meaningfully during the winter vacation.

Chukha HSS’s taekwondo coach, Sonam Wangchuk, said good performance could be due to proper training. “I am glad about the overall performance. Our team practised for almost seven months.”

Sonam Wangchuk, however, said that insufficient funds from the Bhutan Taekwondo Federation (BTF) and Bhutan Olympic Committee are a major challenge.

“We don’t get sponsors. Generally, there aren’t many sponsors in sports,” he said, adding that BTF  had a budget of only Nu 100,000 this time for the tournament.

He said that Chukha’s education sector sponsored breakfast and dinner for the participants.

Gedu HSS came second with eight gold medals, nine silver, and six bronze. Chumigthang MSS came third with five gold, five silver, and three bronze.

Master Phurba Dorji from BTF said that taekwondo culture in Chukha is promising. “In the national championships organised by BTF, Chukha’s Taekwondo Association has 13 first, 11 second, and eight third positions.”

However, he said it is challenging to conduct coaching and organise tournaments at Phuentsholing Sports Association’s hall. “The hall is mostly occupied by badminton and basketball athletes due to limited indoor facilities.”