Thinley Namgay  

Nine teams will play the semi-finals of the maiden Doedjung Open Archery Championship today.

Teams Icon, Pazap, Yewong, Chundu Sawmill, Yungkar Construction, Charo Nga, Pse Ratna, Gembo Furniture, and Druk Super Star will each play 15 rounds.

Teams Yungkar Construction, Chundu Sawmill and Pse Ratna will play in the Changlimithang’s upper archery range in the morning. Team Icon, Charo Nga and Yewong will contest in the lower range.

Teams Gembo Furniture, Pazap, and Druk Super Star will play in the afternoon.

Organiser Rinzin Dorji said the final would be played next week which will feature the three best teams. “We thought to conduct the final this Saturday, but we are worried that we might not be able to control the crowd.”

Twenty-seven teams played in the quarter-final of the Championship, ongoing at the Changlimithang archery range in Thimphu.

The open compound archery championship is the first major archery tournament after nine months amid a pandemic.

Of the 52 teams in the league, 48 got through to the knockout round.  Each team played 45 rounds in the league.

The tournament began last year on December 17 at Khasadrapchu. However, the organiser had to defer the tournament due to lockdown.

Rinzin Dorji said that he had to resume the tournament at Changlimithang since the Khasadrapchu archery range, a private range, was engaged.

He said that the matches were held behind closed doors based on the directives of the Bhutan Indigenous Games and Sports Association and the National Covid-19 Task Force.

Catering is not allowed, and archers had to follow the ‘straight draw technique’ while shooting.

Step 2 Bhutan’s player Sonam said that the archery tournament amid the pandemic was not encouraging. “Unlike before, there is no spectators or catering. It demotivates us.”

Each team paid Nu 12,000 to enter the tournament.

A player with Khomsel, Kencho Wangdi, said that despite entertainment, an expenditure incurred by the compound bow and arrow is a concern.

“Latest compound bow cost more than Nu 100,000. The pair of arrows cost a minimum of Nu 1,000. Many cannot afford it,” he said.

Edited by Tshering Palden