Archery: A three-man compound bow archery team will represent Bhutan at the South Asian Archery Federation archery competition, which is scheduled tentatively in November at Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Jigme Norbu, Tshewang Dorji and Phub Dorji scored the highest points during the second tier (level) conducted at the Bhutan Archery Federation (BAF) archery range in Langjophakha yesterday.

Of the possible 870 points, Jigme Norbu scored 832, while Tshewang Dorji made 816 and Phub Dorji finished nine points behind the second.

The selection for the team began last month in Paro where over 50 compound bow archers took part in the first tier. The top eight archers were then selected for the second tier and underwent almost a month of intensive training before the final selection.

As per the international regulations, the archers were made to use all the accessories such as the scope, stabiliser, sight, trigger and peep during the selections.

Although the popularity of compound bow in the country is on the rise, the use of accessories on the bows as per the international norm was started recently in the country.

Currently only Yangphel archery tournaments and its subsidiary competitions  allow the use of accessories depending on the interest of the archers.

BAF’s general secretary Tsewang Rinchen said that because local archers are not allowed to use accessories in competitions other than Yangphel tournaments, even the best archers loses their edge in the international front because they have to use accessories to compete in it.

“Our archers have a very high chance to become the best in the world but just because they are not allowed to use accessories in most of the competitions, they don’t make in international tournaments,” said Tsewang Rinchen.

The general secretary said that since archery is a part of the Bhutanese tradition, Bhutanese have a competitive edge over other nations.

However, Tsewang Rinchen said that because some people believe using accessories to compound bows will hamper the practice of traditional form of archery, many don’t encourage the usage of these accessories.

“It is wrong to say compound archery is traditional,” said Tsewang Rinchen. “We have many good and talented archers who can perform at international level but most of them are discouraged because of this particular believe.”

He added that the agencies concerned should rethink on the policy matters and allow an easier transition of the game from traditional beliefs to international formats where the Bhutanese have better chances.

The compound bow archery format was first introduced in 2013. Since then, Bhutan has taken part in three international compound bow archery competitions. The best result came from the 12th South Asian Games held in Shillong where the Bhutanese men’s team bagged silver medal and a bronze in the individual competition.

Tsewang Rinchen said that since the beginning of the programme three years ago, compound archers have shown promising improvement in the game. The average score of Jigme Norbu is just a few points under the world number one compound bow archer. Jigme Norbu’s average point is 9.6, which is 0.2 lower than that of the world number one.

Younten Tshedup