More than three decades after Bhutan Boxing Federation (BBF) was established, the federation saw, for the first time, nine local boxers taking part in the national boxing championship that ended last week in Phuentsholing.

Former national boxer, Sigyel Phub led his team of nine who were trained in his private club, Druk Thimphu Boxing Club, in Thimphu. The club won two gold medals and six silver in their debut championship.

The championship was organised by BBF and Bhutan Olympic Committee to promote and select potential boxers. More than 100 boxers from across the country took part in the championship.

Sigyel Phub said armed force personnel dominated the sport since its inception. “The championship took place within the armed force. It’s a proud moment as we could win several medals from the championship.”

BBF’s coach Tashi Phuntsho said the championship was held in different dzongkhag annually to encourage youth to take up the sport. The championship also saw two lady boxers taking part.

The championship included two categories. One category was played among boxers from the armed force while the other category saw local club players of Druk Thimphu Boxing Club playing BBF’s national boxers.

The Royal Bhutan Army’s Wing-I in Tendu, Samtse won the inter-wing championship and Haa, Damthang wing won the runners up title. The winners won a cash prize of Nu 10,000 with a trophy and the runners up team bagged Nu 5,000.

The gold medalist of the inter-wing championship won Nu 8,000, silver medalist won Nu 6,000 and the bronze medalist, Nu 4,000.

In the other category, the gold and silver medalist won Nu 3,000 each.

BBF’s General Secretary Major Kelzang Jigme said the championship included two separate categories as the training duration of the local and RBA boxers differs. “Inter-wing championship include minimum of three rounds to reach the finals while the other includes one bout fight,” he said.

Sigyel Phub said the club winning two gold and six silver is encouraging. “We hope to keep up the performance and try representing the country,” he said. “There are several youth interested in the sport. The championship gave them an opportunity to show their talents.”

Meanwhile, the federation has so far won one gold medal, three silvers and 29 bronze medals from its 12 international fights. The federation participated in the first South Asian games in 1984.