Thinley Namgay

The new dojo (judo hall) construction at Pelkhil School in Thimphu is expected to be completed by the end of May.

Coordinated by the Bhutan Judo Association (BJA), the construction began in July 2019.  The government of Japan funded around Nu 0.01 billion.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, work got deferred.

BJA’s president, Karma L Dorji, said that 90 percent of the work had been completed. “We’re planning to finish by the end of May. After roofing is done, indoor requisites will be in place.”

The new dojo is two-and-a-half times bigger than the existing one.

“The old judo hall could accommodate only 30-35 judokas. The new one will house 60-70 judokas,” said Karma L Dorji.

Since the old judo hall was small, participants used to train on a rotational basis.

“We’ve different categories of judokas such as elite, normal members, young beginners, and old beginners. Now we can do the training altogether,” he said. “Unlike karate and taekwondo, judo mats are soft and expensive.”

“The federation is focusing on the elite judo players through the grassroots programmes. We select the kids carefully to bring them up to the elite level,” said Karma L Dorji.

BJA had secured one slot in a minus 60kg category for Tokyo 2020 games through wild card entry.  Judoka Ngawang Namgyel was selected, and he is undergoing training.

Currently, there is no dojo hall in other dzongkhags.  BJA has six coaches and more than 100 registered members.