Basketball: Tshewang Norbu always wanted to become a basketball instructor. Today the 26-year-old from Jamkhar, Trashiyangtse, is living his dream of coaching youth on the basic techniques of the game.

Tshewang Norbu is a member of the Bhutan Youth Basketball (BYB), a programme initiated by the Bhutan Basketball Federation (BBF) in collaboration with the labour ministry in 2012. BBF media focal person, Jamyang Zangpo, said the programme was organised to provide job opportunities to the youth.

He added that the main reason for initiating the programme was to get youth certified in refereeing and coaching, and also to encourage other youth to be engaged in such activities during their holidays.

“Another reason was to conduct summer and winter BYB camp when the School Sports Instructors (SSI) were on vacation,” he said. BBF organises monthly tournaments to sustain the BYB coaches and to keep them engaged.

Tshewang Norbu said that coaching the youth is a rewarding experience. “Most of the time it’s us who learn more than what we teach them,” he said. “When we hear our trainees doing well in their school basketball tournaments we feel very satisfied.” Tshewang Norbu is also a Federation International Basketball Association certified referee.

Like Tshewang Norbu, others from Pemagatshel, Gelephu, Mongar and Trashiyangtse have come to be a part of the programme. Currently there are 11 BYB coaches who train basketball enthusiasts on a daily basis. Most of the BYB coaches are are class 10 and 12 dropouts.

Rinzin Namgay from Yurung, Pemagatshel is another BYB coach with the BBF. The 27-year-old said that seeing the individuals, whom they have trained, improve on a daily basis makes him perform his job better.

Rinzin Namgay said that rather than wasting time on unhealthy practices during vacations, youth should come and get the training. “We are ever ready to teach all those who need our help. Moreover, it’s free,” he said.

The BYB coaches are trained daily by the national basketball coach, Tenxin Jamtsho. BBF pays a monthly stipend of Nu 3,000. They are also paid a daily allowance of Nu 500 for tournaments like the Coronation Cup and the A League, and Nu 350 for smaller tournaments like the B League.

Jamyang Zangpo said that apart from conducting the regular summer and winter basketball camps for the youth, the coaches also help in refereeing and coaching in other dzongkhags during tournaments and camps.

By Younten Tshedup