Lyonpo Sherub Gyeltshen

Thinley Namgay

Given the increasing casualties from archery, the home ministry will soon consult the relevant agencies to improve safety measures at the archery ranges across the country.

Home Minister Sherub Gyeltshen, in response to the Athang-Thedtsho’s member of the parliament (MP), Kinley Wangchuk, said that the ministry would consult the relevant agencies.

MP Kinley Wangchuk asked the home minister at the National Assembly yesterday on what are the ministry’s strategies to curb down the archery casualties.

Safety within the archery range and of the nearby homes, vehicles and people was a growing issue, the MP said.

MP Kinley Wangchuk said that along with the traditional archery, the foreign bow and arrow was also becoming popular with the development of the country.

“Despite the safety measures implemented by the concerned authorities, 10 people are losing life every year on an average due to archery casualties,” he said.

Recently, a 36-year-old man was hit by an arrow on the head during a friendly archery tournament in Doongna, Chukha.

“The arrow from a compound bow can travel 250ft in a second and the safety becomes challenging,” said MP Kinley Wangchuk.

“With development and more population, the procurement of the archery equipment is creating more problems,” said Lyonpo Sherub Gyeltshen.

Bhutan Indigenous Games and Sports Association’s (BIGSA) President, Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji, said that the association had been focusing on safety measures since 2003. “While registering the new archery range, BIGSA looks at the safety requirements.”

Safety board draw training has been underway since 2013.

“Moreover, our technical officials provide archery safety training throughout the country. For the awareness of the public, safety signboards were placed at the Changlimithang archery range,” said Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji.

Bhutan Olympic Committee sent a letter to BIGSA yesterday to find the new approach to address the archery casualties.

“Discussion within the association and other relevant agencies are ongoing. It all depends on archers,” said Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji.

According to BIGSA’s rules and regulations, the archery field should include a minimum of 20 metres of safe distance behind each target area, excluding the space for spectators.

“No public thoroughfares of any kind including parking of vehicles should be allowed within archery field. If the provision for spectators is required, the width of the area should be increased to a minimum of 40 metres,” says the regulation.

The regulations also say that the archery range should have a safety barrier or wall of at least two metres high and long. “Wall of at least six metres high added with two-metre-high wire mesh on top with smallest possible eyes should be erected behind each target. The minimum width of the wall should be 10 metres.”