Infrastructure: Thimphu will soon have a new multi-sports complex at Babena in Jungshina.

President of Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck graced the salang tendril (groundbreaking ceremony) of the complex yesterday.

The multi-sports hall will have an indoor basketball court, three badminton and two volleyball courts of international standard. A cricket ground and chain-linked fencing will also be constructed.

The project worth USD 600,000 is fully funded by the Korean Sports Promotion Organisation (KSPO) of the Republic of Korea. The fund will also be used to the procure sports equipment at the complex.

BOC secretary general, Sonam Karma Tshering, said the new sports infrastructure will help promote and develop sports in the country.

“While we  [BOC] continue to work zealously to make Bhutan a sporting country, the development of sports infrastructure in the country is one of our main priorities,” said Sonam Karma Tshering. “We cannot thank enough to the government and the people of the Republic of Korea for this wonderful gift to Bhutan.”

In 2014 Asian Games in Inchoen, Korea HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck and the Bhutanese delegation met with Elisa Lee, a Member of Parliament of the Republic of Korea. Elisa Lee, a former world table tennis champion, expressed her willingness to support the development of sports in the country.

“I visited Bhutan in March 2015 and met with the officials from the BOC and also some of the athletes here,” said Elisa Lee. “I could see the passion and enthusiasm for sports in young Bhutanese. But to encourage such passion, the country lacked basic facilities, equipment and infrastructures.”

Elisa Lee said that after returning to Korea, she discussed the issue with the government and decided to render possible support for the development of sports in Bhutan.

“As a former athlete and now a parliamentarian, I feel the need to promote the friendship and relation between the two countries, not only through political avenues, but also through sports,” said Elisa Lee. “I’m hopeful that once the facility is completed, it will foster further development of sports in Bhutan and also generate more collaboration opportunities between the two countries.”

The multi-sports complex will be constructed on a six-acre land that has been leased for a period of 30 years from Thimphu Thromde.

Similar constructions are ongoing in Samdrupjongkhar, Bumthang and Punakha. A multi-sports hall in Phuntsholing will be completed in December.

The first multi-sports hall was constructed in Trashigang in December 2014.

Younten Tshedup