Thinley Namgay 

Taekwondo enthusiasts across the country could witness an international standard taekwondo facility at the swimming pool complex in Thimphu by the end of 2025.

The salhang tendrel ceremony for the construction of the new taekwondo hall was held yesterday. His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, dignitaries, and civil servants, among others attended the ceremony.

The existing taekwondo hall which was built in 1976 will be replaced by a new one.

The total cost of the three-year project is Nu 6.8 million. The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is funding 95 percent of the budget. The government will invest the other five percent.

The new facility will have four fighting areas with a hall capacity of 1,200 people.  Bhutan can host international championships after its completion.

Besides fighting areas, the new facility will also have a well-furnished training hall, administrative block, canteen and restrooms, among others.

Bhutan Taekwondo Federation’s (BTF) Secretary General, Grandmaster Yonten Tharchen, said that the construction would commence in September. “Currently, BTF is working on construction formalities.”

Yonten Tharchen said the current taekwondo facility has benefited thousands of taekwondo enthusiasts. “Athletes brought medals from the international competitions.”

BTF after being officially founded in 1985 bagged 201 medals comprising 51 gold, 56 silver, and 94 bronze from international competitions.

Yonten Tharchen said it will be a nostalgic moment to demolish the old taekwondo mansion which became a centre for taekwondo development.

“The new facility will further promote taekwondo in Bhutan.  Health and value education among youth will improve, “Yonten Tharchen said, adding that the new division for health and value education will be set up.

The new facility is also expected to generate additional income for BTF.

“I want to thank His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, KOICA, the government, BTF executive members, coaches, and athletes for their unwavering support to develop taekwondo in the country,” he said.

BTF officials said the existing taekwondo structure is congested for training owing to an increasing number of taekwondo enthusiasts, especially in the capital. Some said it is risky as the structure has become old.

KOICA’s Country Director of Bhutan and Bangladesh, Youngah Doh (PhD), said taekwondo is an important sport, especially for youth to develop both physically and mentally. “KOICA will continue supporting taekwondo programmes in Bhutan.”

Today, BTF has around 27,000 members across the country.