Football rules … on and off the field

Yearender/Sports: Football was once again the dominant sport, both on the field and on TV  in the Year of the Horse.

While 32 nations battled for the World Cup in Brazil, thousands of Bhutanese joined the international fans to support their favourite team.  Rain, light and heavy, didn’t stop the fans from coming out to the Changlimithang stadium to watch their teams, some on whom heavy bets were placed, on the giant screens.

A miniature seven-on-seven World Cup fan fest tournament was also organised to celebrate the World Cup.  Honduras won that World Cup held in Bhutan.

The King’s Cup returned to crown a new champion.  Bangladesh’s Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club won their first Kings Cup defeating Pune FC of India.  The winners and runners up of the Coca Cola national league, Druk United and Ugyen Academy represented the country in the tournament.

Bhutan football federation selected the country’s new national team with a new system of paying the players with a monthly salary.  The young national team will lead Bhutan to its first ever World Cup qualifying matches, a small step towards football’s grandest stage of all.

It was a disappointment for the Bhutanese on the international front.  Ugyen Academy was thrashed 4-0 by Sheikh Russel of Sri Lanka in the AFC President’s Cup.  The Bhutanese national women football team could not register a single win in the South Asian football federation (SAFF) women’s championship at Pakistan.

In basketball, Team Bhutan achieved its second international win in 3 on 3-basketball at the Asian beach games in Phuket, Thailand.  Bhutan defeated Laos 21-9.

In local tournaments, Wizards (men) defeated Pazaps and Pamos (women) defeated Dozens to claim the Coronation Cup.  Team Wizards also won the Thimphu open basketball championship beating Phojas 78-64.

Jachungs defeated Phojas 74-65 in the finals of the first winter basketball championship at swimming pool complex, Thimphu.

The first ever community basketball tournament also began to engage the youth gainfully during their vacation.

In chess, Bhutan recorded its first international win against the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Chess Olympiad held in Norway.  The country is currently ranked 170 in the world.

Thimphu team bagged 10 gold and three bronze medals at the first international taekwondo championship held at the swimming pool complex, Thimphu.

In archery, KTP Construction,  which was in the last position till the eight round, surprised the spectators by winning the famous Yangphel open archery tournament.  Eastern United was crowned the champions of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial archery tournament, defeating Bhutan Power corporation at the Changlimithang range in Thimphu.

A new champion was also crowned in the Tour of the Dragon bike race.  A Nepalese national, Ajay Pandit Chhetri completed the 268-km bike race in 10 hours and 42 minutes, breaking  last year’s record to emerge as the champion of the Tour of the Dragon.

In body building, Pema Thekchok beat the two times Mr Bhutan Tandin Wangchen to become the new title holder.   Pema Thekchok, 29, was crowned Mr Phuentsholing in 2009.

Coinciding with the 107th National Day, Thimphu got its first outdoor strength and fitness centre at the athletics stadium.

Younten Tshedup

 

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