Bhutanese athletes made history at the 50th Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship by winning seven medals. We must cherish such achievements by fellow Bhutanese with pride and appreciation.

Bodybuilding is yet another potential success story like that of the Bhutanese film and music industries.

Judging by the commitment of the athletes, the organisers, and the results thus far, bodybuilding is here to stay. We must encourage them!

Bhutan Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Federation did a commendable job within a span of 14 years since the sport was introduced in 2002. As Lyonchoen said on the final day of the championship, the federation, though young, has achieved the biggest success for the country.

Winning three gold, one silver, and seven bronze medals is not as easy as it appeared to be. Remember, we were competing with 27 other countries, some of whose populations run into millions. In fact, the countries include our two immediate neighbours, India and China, the  two most populated countries in the world. China’s population is approximately 1,763 times that of ours and India’s, 1,692 times. And yet we won three gold medals, while China and India won two each.

Our women bodybuilders too have taken up the challenge shattering the myth of bodybuilding as a masculine sport. Of the seven women who represented Bhutan, two made it to the top five. More women are expected to come forward and follow in their footsteps to compete in the international arena.

As our gold medalists proudly stand for the national anthem, wrapped in the national flag with tears streaming down from their eyes, we are reminded of what our Druk Gyalpo has always said: “It is not a question of whether we have the capability to achieve success. The question is, ‘Will we make the choice to stand up and take responsibility? Will we choose to make a difference?’”

What appeared impossible to achieve by a Bhutanese a couple of decades ago, has become not only realisable today but we are excelling in it.

However, it would be a challenge for the authority and the promoters to make the sport more accessible and affordable to harness talents.

We wish our athletes participating in the upcoming World Championship to be held in Thailand this November, the best of luck, and may our local deities protect you at all times.