Thinley Namgay 

Lhabchu, 38, from Chukha, was crowned the champion of the first Bhutan Arm Wrestling Championship in Thimphu on July 31.

Winning three straight sets in a best-of-five game, he defeated Pema Wangdi, 29, in the final.

Lhabchu had competed in the Nyagoe (strongmen) contest in 2014 and 2016. The day-long  first arm wrestling tournament saw 46 participants from across the country.

Lhabchu faced six opponents. 

Lhabchu said that he didn’t expect to win. “This year, most of the contestants are gym-goers. I thought they would win because they have been doing regular heavy exercise.”

“The only tough opponent I faced was Karma Wangchuk from Trashigang, popularly known as Zorila,” said Lhabchu.

Lhabchu defeated Karma Wangchuk in the semifinal 2-1. 

The tournament was organised by Druk Super Star (DSS).

Kencho Wangdi from DSS said: “Since the time of our forefathers, Bhutan had a culture of arm wrestling, locally known as sheyrey parey. However, there was no proper platform so far for the enthusiasts to showcase their talent.”

Participants paid an entry fee of Nu 1,000 each.

“We’ll make weight categories from next season. Arm wrestling competition for the women will be organised from next season,” Kencho Wangdi said.

Until semifinals, games were played on best of three where participants had to win two sets.

Lhabchu was awarded an electric scooter worth Nu 120,000. The first runner up, Pema Wangdi was given an electric scooter worth Nu 105,000. Karma Wangchuk, who stood third, took home an electric cooker worth Nu 20,000.  

Edited by Tshering Palden