Besides having a well-established multi-sports complex in the dzongkhag, not many tournaments are held for sports like basketball, volleyball and badminton.

Save for evenings where a regular group of badminton players use the complex, the sports hall remains almost unused throughout the day.

Budget constraints are the biggest challenge to organise regular tournaments according to officials from the dzongkhag sports association.

The treasurer of the association, Karma Choeda, said that the association is struggling to generate funds for the maintenance of the facility. “With a handful of regular members, the membership fee collected is not even enough to pay the electricity bills,” he said.

The canteen at the facility closed down some three years ago with not many availing its services.

The association has leased the ground floor of the complex to an Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centre from where they generate the salary for the hall’s caretaker.

“The association is surviving from the money we generate from leasing the archery range during tshechu,” said Karma Choeda. “We carry out all the maintenance works from the money, which is difficult.”

The Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) provides all the dzongkhag sports associations (DSA) with an annual budget based on their calendar activities.

However, the budget is not enough according to Karma Choeda. “Along with officials from the federation, we have to bear all the expenses for the trainees,” he said.

He said a recent badminton-training programme in Trashigang has generated interest among the students. “We would like to bring in more of similar programmes from other federations but it becomes an expensive affair.”

Officials from BOC said that respective DSAs have to coordinate with the federations for training activities and coaching programmes. For programmes that include training of trainers such as school sports instructors, the committee has a separate budget allocated for all DSAs.

With the roof leaking during heavy shower and some of the windows broken, the facility is in need of maintenance. “We have reported the issues to the BOC and they have given us a positive response. We are also looking into changing the floor, which is not suitable for an indoor facility,” said Karma Choeda.

The association is planning to include an indoor volleyball court at the facility. Without a volleyball court in town, people are seen travelling some 10km to play in an open field near Rongthong, Kanglung.

“We expect that this would bring in more membership thereby increasing our income generation for maintenance works,” Karma Choeda said.

The hall was built in December 2014. It was the first multi-sports facility in the country.

Meanwhile, one of the most played sports in Trashigang today is archery. With the installation of floodlights a few years ago, archers flock the lone archery range in the town every evening for a game or two.

Interest for the game has also been growing among the youth ever since the beginning of the school archery programme in 2014.

The long-term grassroots programme was initiated by the Bhutan Archery Federation to build a base for the Bhutanese archers in recurve bow, the bow used in Olympics.

Following the national game, football like the rest of the country dominates, especially among the youth. The dzongkhag’s team Methidrang United FC had a successful game at the ongoing Chancellor’s Cup in Kanglung.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang