… at the U-19 badminton championship

Thinley Namgay

When Kinley Wangmo, 17, came second best in the Open national badminton championship last year, she decided to work harder.

It paid off. The under -19 national team swept the 19th national championship this year winning the Women’s single, Women’s double and Mixed double played at the Bebena Sports Complex in Thimphu, on Thursday.

The class 11 student of Dechencholing Higher Secondary School said she worked hard to take part in the championship. Kinley had been playing badminton since her seventh grade.  “Last year, I took part in the women’s single and double category, but I stood only runners up in the single category. Winning in three categories is a great achievement for me,” she said.

Kinley is also interested on basketball and cricket, but she said she took up badminton after seeing not many women participants in the sports. “Women should come forward as we have equal opportunities like men to represent our country in international championships.”

Since her inception into the national team two years ago, she said that she took part in championship at Maldives last year and Bangladesh in 2018. “Currently, there is more scope for women than men due to less women players.”

A total of 60 participants from Gelephu, Samtse, Trashigang, Thimphu, Paro, Phuentsholing, Gomtu, and Wangduephodrang took part in the competition that began on January 27. Among them, 28 were women.

BBF’s Head Coach, Sherab Gyeltshen, said the participants were selected from regional and national games. “Before the competition, they had undergone advanced training for 15 days from January 10 to 25. The other 25 participants came from different places.”

The participants competed in different categories like, men’s and women’s single, men’s and women’s double, and mixed category. The Participants were allowed to take part without registration fee.

In the women’s single, Kinley Wangmo defeated Phuntsho Dema in a deciding set.

Jimba Sangay Lhendrup beat Jamyang Tenzin in two straight sets to win  the men’s single.

In men’s double, Tshewang Rinzin and Jigme Tshering beat Yeshey Rabten and Chimi Dorji.  Kinley Wangmo and Phuntsho Dema won the women’s double against Kuenzang Choden and Namgay Dema.

In the mixed double, Kinley Wangmo and Yeshi Rabten thrashed Tshewang Rinzin and Ishika Pradhan -21-14 and 21-14.

The tournament is an annual event organised by BBF with the financial support from the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC).

BBF’s Coach, Dorji Dradhul, said the numbers of participants increased this year. “Last year, more than 30 participated, because there was no women’s double category. This year, we made it inclusive by adding women’s double.”

The winners of all the categories were awarded a cash prize of Nu 15,000 each followed by the runners up with Nu 10,000 each along with medals and certificate.