Thinley Namgay

Two karate athletes from Bhutan Karate Association (BKA) will represent Bhutan at the upcoming Asian Games (AG) in China. This marks the first ever representation by Bhutan in this major sports event. 

Both athletes are soldiers who have been honing their skills for a year in Thimphu under the guidance of Coach Tshering Dorji. These selected athletes boast commendable experience, having dedicated themselves to the sport for over three years.

One of the contenders, Tshering Phuntsho, 25, from Mongar, is excited about the competition, considering the rigorous training he has undergone for a year, with daily sessions lasting six hours. 

Reflecting on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tshering Phuntsho said that the training could have been more effective had there been no disruptions.

He remains confident and determined to give his best performance at the forthcoming event. “I am thrilled. I understand that competing against world-class athletes at the AG won’t be easy, but I am ready to embrace the challenge,” he said. 

In his previous three international appearances, Tshering Phuntsho won a silver medal and a bronze, demonstrating his prowess in the sport.

Rinchen Jamtsho, the second athlete is from Dagana. “It is a rare opportunity to represent our country on the international stage, and I will give it my all,” he said. 

The 22-year-old athlete has high hopes of bringing home a medal. “Both of us have received excellent training thus far.”

Out of the 24 aspiring karate athletes, only two have been selected to represent Bhutan in the AG. 

Coach Tshering Dorji provided insight into the selection process, revealing that 24 athletes were trained at Tencholing for three months specifically for the games, and out of that, five were shortlisted. 

“Taking into consideration their fitness, performance during training, and international appearances, the BKA selected the final two athletes,” the coach said.

Coach Tshering Dorji’s plans for the team is to focus more on technical aspects and strategic preparation to ensure that the athletes are well-prepared for the games.