BAAF: A former Japanese Olympian, Dai Tamesue, is in the country to study the athletes and train them into professional athletes.

Dai Tamesue interacted with the athletes at the track and field centre in Thimphu yesterday. He intends to return in September and begin training as a full time coach following a memorandum of understanding signed between the Bhutan Olympic Committee and The Athlete Society, of which Dai Tamesue is the chairperson, on March 30.

The former Olympian is planning to start training with the fundamental aspects that are required in running and sprinting. “I’ll observe and return with the necessary equipment and expertise to train the athletes,” he said.

Dai Tamesue, 36, is a two time bronze medalist at the 2001 and 2005 world championship at Canada and Finland respectively.  He also participated at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics, and holds the national record for the 400-meter hurdles at 47.89 seconds.

He said he has seen Bhutanese athletes perform in videos, and believes that they can do better under proper training and guidance.

“Bhutanese people can run, but they need to practise and learn the technical aspects as well,” he said. “I want to see at least three Bhutanese in the 2020 Olympics at Tokyo.”

The president of Bhutan Amateur Athletes Federation (BAAF), Tsewang Rinzing, said the future of Bhutanese athletes looked bright under his guidance. “It will go a long way under a veteran Olympic athlete,” he said.  He added that, besides the athletes, Bhutanese coaches can also learn from him.

Tsewang Rinzing said the athlete training facilities are only three years old and that the federation needed technical expertise in the field. “We want to promote grass-root level athletes through kids athletics programme,” he said.

BAAF also conducts training sessions for coaches, including the physical education instructors from schools around the country, along with organising regional and national championships.

Tenzin Thinley, 19, a long distance runner, who participated in the International Amateur Athletic Foundation cross-country championships in China this year, said he was excited to train under Dai Tamesue. “I want to learn as much as I can from him,” he said.

Another long distance runner Pema Seldon said she wants to make the best use of the Olympian’s experience. “I want to learn all the technical aspects that are required to win,” she said.

Dai Tamesue gifted three hurdles, five stopwatches and three electrical starting whistles to BAAF.  He said more equipment would be brought in when he returns in September.

Meanwhile, on March 31, the president of BAAF, Tsewang Rinzing, and counsellor Nina Tshering La of the Indian embassy participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a single storied BAAF office at the track and field centre in Thimphu.  The Nu 5 million project is funded by the government of India under the project-tied assistance.

By Younten Tshedup