Thinley Namgay     

Disrupting all sporting activities, the current lockdown has come as a disappointment for the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), federations, associations, and athletes.

The restrictions have affected competitions, coaching camps, and training while other sports-related meetings had to be deferred. Athletes are currently doing self-training despite inconveniences caused by lack of equipment or proper venue, and having to do household chores.

Bhutan Tennis Federation’s (BTF) General Secretary Tshering Namgay said competitions, national coaching programmes, junior tennis programmes, and other competitions couldn’t be conducted because of the restrictions.

BTF became a full member of the International Tennis Federation early this year. “The membership demands many activities for BTF to accomplish,” Tshering Namgay said.

He said the BOC is slashing some activities due to the pandemic.

Bhutan Cricket’s Press Officer Tandin Wangchuk said they couldn’t conduct the selection and training camp for the Under-19 National Team in Gelephu.  After completing the U-19 Super Cup Tournament in January, 30 players for the U-19 national squad from seven teams were selected, and these players would undergo three trial matches.

Out of the 30 players, 20 were supposed to go to Gelephu for a month-long training to participate in the upcoming international tournament in September in Oman.

The Bhutan Football Federation’s (BFF) ongoing first Mini Dragon League, scheduled to finish on February 5, has been postponed. More than 300 children below 12 years of age from Thimphu and Paro have been participating in the league at the Changlimithang stadium since November 11 of last year.

BFF’s media and marketing head Phuntsho Wangdi said the lockdown also disrupted grassroots football development activities, coaching clinics, and official courses.

The semifinals and final matches of the first beach volleyball tournament in the capital, organised by the Bhutan Volleyball Federation, were also halted.

An official from the BOC said the committee was sceptical about the upcoming Bhutan International Marathon next month due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

The ongoing under-15 Bhutan Amateur Baseball League in Thimphu, organised by the Bhutan Baseball and Softball Association, started in December of last year, has also been postponed. Five teams are competing in the tournament.