Thinley Namgay 

National football icon Chencho Gyeltshen and professional bodybuilder Tandin Wangchen were awarded the National Order of Merit (Gold) during the National Day celebrations for their distinguished achievements and contribution to sports in Bhutan. 

Chencho Gyeltshen, 27, holds the distinction of being the first Bhutanese professional footballer to compete internationally. 

As the Captain of the Senior Bhutan National Team, he has achieved the status of the all-time leading goal scorer for Bhutan with 13 goals from 43 appearances. 

Representing clubs like Bengaluru and Kerala Blasters, he has secured championships in I-League and ISL, contributing significantly to Bhutan’s football reputation. 

“The award came as a surprise,” said Chencho, the first Bhutanese footballer to receive the award. “I am motivated, and I will work even harder to represent my country.”   

Since 2007, Chencho has represented the country in both junior and senior national teams. 

“This award is significant not only for me but also for all the aspiring youth who want to excel in sports,” Chencho said. 

Chencho, from Paro, believes that Bhutanese youth have the potential to do better in sports, and such motivation is crucial to help athletes stay on track.

Chencho currently plays for Sriwijaya FC based in Indonesia. He also played in clubs in Thailand, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.  

His Majesty The King with Tandin Wangchen

Tandin Wangchen, 46, is a distinguished athlete and entrepreneur. He secured first place in the Men’s Athletic Physique Over 182 cm category at the 14th World Body Building and Physique Sports Championship in 2023. 

Between 2008 and 2023, he has won six international medals and 10 national championships. 

Tandin holds expertise in strength training, nutrition, and personal fitness training, certified by ISSA. His notable achievements include gold and silver medals in international and regional bodybuilding competitions. 

Tandin Wangchen’s outstanding achievements on the global stage have made Bhutan proud, serving as an inspiration for aspiring athletes

The former three-time Mr Bhutan said, “I feel glad and fortunate to receive an award from His Majesty The King.”

Since 2008, Tandin has contended in South Asian Championships, Asian Championships, and World Bodybuilding Championships. From the World Championship, he acquired a gold and a silver.

From the South Asian Championships, he managed silver, and also silver and bronze from the Asian Championships. 

Tandin Wangchen said aspiring bodybuilders must have the courage and hard work to excel in a bodybuilding career. “The government and BOC have support for athletes. Continuity is crucial.”

After winning the last gold medal from the world championship, he decided not to contest on the international platforms.