Thinley Namgay   

Swimmer Sangay Tenzin will compete in the 100 metre (m) freestyle race in the ongoing 15th FINA World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today.

The event is the last competition for the two Bhutanese swimmers in the UAE.

On December 18, Sangay Tenzin defeated swimmers from eight countries in the 50m freestyle category and came first from the group stage. He completed the race in 26.29 seconds.

However, he couldn’t proceed to the next round as he stood 83rd out of 106 participants.

Sangay Tenzin said: “The result was good. It is a national record, but I could have gone faster.”

Swimmer Kinley Lhendup completed the men’s 100m butterfly race in 1.01 minutes (mins) on December 17.

His performance was one of the best national records so far. Of the 88 participants, he stood 79th. In this group of eight people, he came fifth.

“This is my personal best,” Kinley Lhendup said. “The result wasn’t all that bad.”

On December 16, Kinley Lhendup finished the men’s 200m individual medley race at 2:24 mins.

Kinley Lhendup said: “I did well. I still need to work on my 200m individual medley race.”

The competition, he said, was encouraging.

Kinley said Bhutanese swimmers still have to work hard to reach the semifinal or final stages. “The biggest problem we face is lack of opportunities. We must work hard.”

Sangay and Kinley have been practising in Phuket, Thailand for more than two years with swimmers from more than 12 countries with support from the FINA, International Swimming Federation.

According to Kinley, regular morning and evening practices are in full swing under the guidance of coach Miguel Lopez from the FINA training centre, Thailand.

The competition in the iconic Etihad Arena saw 943 participants from more than 183 countries. There are more than 20 events for both men and women.

The 15th FINA World Swimming Championships was postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.