Given the harsh weather conditions and lack of adequate facilities, students of Merak Primary School in Trashigang do not get to play sports much.

Things, however, changed this year.

Since the beginning of this year, the school received a new football ground that kept both the young and old in the locality engaged most of the time.

The gewog office constructed the new football ground.

Until last year, the uneven pastureland below the school campus served as the only football ground in the gewog.

On July 7, a one-day futsal tournament was organised for the first time in the gewog with five teams participating.

The competition’s theme was ‘inculcating a sense of togetherness’ by the school administration.

The tournament was organised to keep the students engaged during their vacation.

In the finals, the gewog administration team defeated the school staff in a penalty shootout.

But the schoolteachers say it was the students who stole the show with their display of improved skills and game sense.

“The way the students played inspired all of us. Their game has raised the bar even for the seniors in the community,” a teacher, Sangay Wangchuk, said.

He said that with no proper ground to practice, the school had the team practice on pastureland for a day during a cluster competition last year. “Now that we have our own football ground, our performance would only get better.”

Meanwhile, the school also revived their annual sports meet since last year at the request of the students.

The difficult geographical terrain and climatic challenges have not deterred the sports enthusiasts in the highlands.

“There are students who have shared their interest in sports especially football,” another teacher said. “The new football ground should encourage others to take up sports for a healthier lifestyle.”

Located at an altitude of 3,500 metres above sea level, sports is picking up among the highlanders.

Younten Tshedup |Trashigang