Olympic: Lenchu Kunzang is arguably one of the country’s finest air rifle shooters today.

She began shooting when she signed up to become a cop. After graduating from the Jigmeling Police Training Centre in Gelephu in 2012, the 24-year-old had topped her division in rifle shooting.

“After my graduation I was posted in Phuntsholing,” said Lenchu Kunzang. “While I was placed there, the Bhutan Olympic Committee had asked for the elite shooters from the centre for selection in the national team.”

Instantly Lenchu Kunzang was selected by the Bhutan Shooting Federation in 2013. Along with her, the federation also selected three more shooters from the same centre.

“Rifle shooting was a part of the training for me. Whether I enjoyed it or not, there wasn’t an option. But now enjoy this sport, said Lenchu Kuenzang. “When I was selected into the national team, I didn’t even know that there was a shooting federation.”

Today, Lenchu Kunzang can be seen rigorously practicing for the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. She shoots for at least six hours everyday.

Apart from shooting, Lenchu Kunzang’s practice session also includes 45 minutes of working out at gym and an hour’s session of yoga at the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre.

“Shooting requires a balance of both physical and mental stability,” she said. “While workouts help me build my physical strength, yoga sessions help in concentration during aiming and controlling my breath.”

Lenchu Kunzang said that it was because of her sheer hard word and dedication for the sport that she was able to participate in numerous international competitions.

“I’ve been improving with every match and I have high hopes for myself at the Rio Olympics this time,” said Lenchu Kunzang.

Lenchu Kunzang has participated in six international competitions so far including the 17th Asian Games in Korea in 2014 and the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) in Guwahati earlier this year.

However, she said that her shooting at the SAG was one of her worst international performances. “Many expected me to do better at the competition but I couldn’t perform to the best of my abilities,” she said. “I was disappointed in myself. Therefore, it is important for me to do my best at the Rio Olympics and I’ve trained well for it.”

Lenchu Kunzang along with other athletes from the country will leave for the Olympics in August.

Younten Tshedup