Youth: To recognise the importance of sports in the development of the nation and the positive influence it can have on the advancement of human rights and socio-economic development, the International Day of Sports for Development and Peace was observed at Pelkhil School in Thimphu yesterday.

Bhutan Olympic Committee’s (BOC) general secretary, Karma Sonam Tshering said that sports in Bhutan can help in achieving GNH.

“Most of our youth achieve their greatest happiness when they are playing games and sports,” said Karma Sonam Tshering. “We’ve to recognise sports and athletes in the country so that our national philosophy is achieved and people are happy,” he added. “Sports can deliver this happiness.”

Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) officials said that sports besides fostering physical wellbeing and enhancing skills, helps in inculcating values such as cooperation, tolerance, team play, respect and leadership.

As the agency responsible for the promotion and implementation of sporting activities in schools, DYS has initiated several school sports programmes in the country.

Sports education through literary activities, annual dzongkhag and national level sports meets and winter youth programmes have been initiated by the department.

DYS’s director general, Phintsho Choden, said that the activities not only provide a platform for children and youth to showcase their talents but also provides them with the opportunity to interact with new faces and build friendships.

“We use sports as a medium to foster health, values and skills besides enriching teaching and learning,” said Phintsho Choden. “Our main focus is towards encouraging mass participation at all levels to ensure that children of all ages, abilities and backgrounds avail the opportunity to enjoy and acquire the benefits that sports has to offer.”

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay along with the education and health ministers attended the programme, which was jointly organised by the education ministry, BOC and Pelkhil School.

Hundreds of students from eight different schools from Thimphu, Paro and Punakha observed the third International Day of Sports for Development and Peace in the country.

The day was first observed in the country in 2014 following the United Nations General Assembly’s decision to recognise the positive impacts of sports for the development and peace in August 2013.

The day also marks the opening of the first modern Olympic games in Athens in 1896.

Younten Tshedup