Sherab Lhamo

Laya – The day kicked off with the famous Laya Run, starting from Ponjothang and featuring various exciting competitions. The festivities concluded with the fiercely competitive women’s contest of strength.

In the challenging Laya Run, Dechen Ugyen, 32, emerged victorious in the men’s category, completing the run in an impressive one hour, 53 minutes, and 51 seconds.

Choki Dorji followed closely, crossing the finish line just 40 milliseconds after Dechen Ugyen.

The third spot went to Sangay Wangchuk, who finished 56 seconds behind Choki Dorji.

Dechen Ugyen shared that he had been participating in the run since the inception of the festival. His rigorous training routine includes running to Phajoding twice a week and covering distances to Tango and around the Royal Body Guard ground on other days.

Laya Run, Women Ngagoe, and Men Wrestling and sport events

In the women’s category, Kinzang Lhamo, 25, clinched the first position, completing the run in 2 hours, 27 minutes, and 29 seconds.

Pema Choki secured second place with a time of 2 hours and 28 minutes, while Kinley Wangmo claimed the third spot, finishing in 2 hours, 33 minutes, and 18 seconds.

Kinzang Lhamo said that it was her first time participating in the run, as her previous year was occupied with the snowman trek.

The men’s wrestling competition witnessed Nima Nidup from Trashigang dominating the preliminary selection, ensuring his place in the final round of the competition.

His remarkable strength left his opponents helpless, and he ultimately won the first prize by defeating Karma from Laya in a thrilling final match.

Karma had previously displayed immense courage in the preliminary rounds by overcoming Dawa Penjor from Lunana. The unexpected victory of the Layap wrestler over his formidable opponent from Lunana sparked enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.

Lunana secured the third position in the men’s wrestling competition among the highlanders. An elderly observer noted that both Lunana and Laya participants were equally strong, emphasising that Laya’s hosting provided them with a unique advantage, invoking blessings from their local gods and deities.

In the strong women’s competition, Phub Dem was declared the strongest woman from Trashigang, with Kinley Zam from Wangdue and Khandu Zam from Gasa following closely in secondand third places, respectively.

The horse race competition was won by Wangdue, with Laya securing the second position.

Trashigang, Gasa, and Thimphu triumphed in the best yak decoration, horse decoration, and horse saddling competitions, respectively.