Volleyball: Tsirang’s Dzongkhag Sports Association (DSA) defeated Trashigang DSA to become the first national volleyball champions at Changlimithang, Thimphu, yesterday.

In an equally contested match, both the teams won two sets each to take the game into a fifth and final set. Trashigang DSA had an easy first set and won the game 25-19. The second set, however, was thoroughly dominated by Tsirang. With minimal errors from the players, Tsirang DSA won the second game 25-15.

The third set went to Trashigang DSA, and Tsirang DSA won the fourth. In the final set, Tsirang DSA won 15-13.

In an attempt to revive the game of volleyball, Bhutan Volleyball Federation (BVF) organized the national tournament for the first time this year. Of the 10 DSAs affiliated with the Bhutan Olympic Committee, seven took part this year.

Paro DSA, who most of the spectators believed would lift the trophy this year, was defeated in the semi-finals of the tournament by Trashigang DSA.

“Volleyball was once a very popular game. In schools and local tournaments, it used to gather audiences more than what we today see in a football match,” said Jamyang Dorji, a student of YHSS. “But with regular initiatives such as this, it could come back.”

A huge crowd had gathered at the court in Changlimithang to witness the finals of the week-long tournament. This was the largest audience the tournament had received so far.

BVF’s national coach, Tshewang Nidup, said that the next step in reviving the sport is organizing an annual general meeting among the member secretaries on March 29.

He said that the meeting will discuss issues on improving and promoting the sport with focus on grassroots development in dzongkhags.

The winners were awarded a trophy along with cash price of Nu 50,000. Runners up also received a trophy and Nu 30,000.

Tandin Wangchuk of Paro DSA was declared the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and was given a cash price of Nu 10,000.

The national tournament will be an annual event.

Younten Tshedup