Basketball: The most prestigious basketball tournament in the country, the Coronation Cup, has been deferred considering the vulnerability of the venue, the swimming pool complex in Thimphu.

After the earthquake of April 25, Bhutan Basketball Federation (BBF) officials were cautious of using the old structure that was built in the early 1970s although no damages were reported. BBF has requested Advance Geo-Tech Engineering and Testing, a private company to inspect the safety of the old structure.

BBF’s programme officer, Yonten, said that with aftershocks occurring occasionally the federation could not take any risks of conducting further tournaments in the old hall. “For the safety of all, we wanted to make sure that the building is safe for tournaments,” he said. 

BFF staff, Jamyang Zangpo, clarified that although there are no external damage to the hall it was a precaution that the federation has taken for the safety of the players and the spectators.

Yonten said that after the 2011 earthquake, officials from the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement conducted a visual investigation on the safety of the structure but due to the lack of equipments it was not reliable. “They verbally said it was not safe to play in the court,” he said.

Advance Geo-Tech Engineering and Testing has been inspecting the hall for a few days now. Yonten said that the reports on whether they could conduct the tournament will be out in the next one to two days. He said that if the report does not approve the hall, the indoor basketball court at the Youth Development Fund hall will be used for the tournaments.

The competition which was supposed to start on May 18 will now begin on May 22. So far 25 teams have registered for the tournament. Last year more than 30 teams took part in the game.

The winners of the Coronation Cup will be given trophies, individual medals and a cash prize of Nu 30,000 and Nu 20,000 for the winners and runners up respectively in both men and women category.

By Younten Tshedup