Thinley Namgay

In what was perhaps the longest archery tournament in the country, Orong Gewog from Samdrupjongkhar defeated Duktip from Trashiyangtse in the fourth Mewang Gyalsey Traditional Archery Tournament finals at the Changlimithang archery range in Thimphu on October 19.

Despite continued rainfall, it took only four rounds for the Orong Gewog to claim their first title.

In the best of three matches, Orong Gewog won two straight sets of 25 points in one and a half days.

Duktip could only manage 10 points in the first set and 15 points in the next.

Orong Gewog won a set on the first day and earned 11 points. Duktip had a chance to equalise the set and play the deciding game, but couldn’t move beyond 15 points.

The final was held behind closed doors without spectators.

Damcho Wangdi, captain of Orong, said: “We didn’t expect to win. The best part of the final was that we knew each other and it was like a friendly match.”

Playing the final game was without charm and excitement for most of the players, and the rain disturbed the game.

Duktip’s captain, Sonam, said that Dukti is one of the most remote villages in the country, and reaching the final itself felt like a big win.

“My team could have performed well if the weather had been better,” Sonam said.

He said that only a few youths play traditional archery today. “It could be due to the popularity of compound bows and arrows. In compound archery tournaments, we see lots of teams participating.”

The tournament is organised to commemorate the birth anniversary of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.

Twenty-five teams from across the country took part in the knock-out tournament that began on February 3, 2020. Thirteen teams competed from Pool A and 12 teams from Pool B.

Duktip and Orong reached the finals after winning the semi-finals matches on March 2. From Pool A, Duktip defeated Chang Gewog 2-1 in a best-of-three game. Orong Gewog beat Norlha from Pool B 2-1.

Bhutan Indigenous Games and Sports Association’s (BIGSA) official Tshewang Namgay said that the tournament was necessary for the nation, and the final had to be conducted with a grand celebration. However, he said the BIGSA could allow only 50 people as per the directives of the National Covid-19 Taskforce.

Two seeded players were allowed per team. Each team paid Nu 7,000 as a fee.

The best player of the tournament was Dorji Tshering of team Duktip, who hit 34 kareys. President of BIGSA, Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji, awarded the prizes.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk