Come July and Bhutan will have one of the first South Korean female archers to compete in the world championship, Park Young Sook, commonly known as Sally Park, as the head coach of Bhutan Archery Federation (BAF).
The 57-year-old from South Korea will work with the federation on a year contract that can be extended.
She was recommended to be the trainer by World Archery Federation after BAF announced that they are looking for an international coach last year.
Park Young Sook said that she searched online to know about Bhutan. “I was surprised to know how happy the place and people are.”
She said that after reaching here, she found the place was best in the world. “Word could hardly describe my excitement.”
The Olympian said that working in the country is beyond training the archers. “I am surprised as I find everyone happy here. I want to know the secret behind and explore the place and culture,” she said.
The South Korean attended second inter-school archery tournament held at Rangjung Central School in Trashigang on December 21 last year. She said that the country has many potential players.
“The federation needs to train them. We selected few players from the tournament. Within few days of coaching, they have shown amazing improvements. I think the future players of the country would be excellent archers if trained well,” she said.
Park Young Sook received the World Archery Women’s Award for her outstanding contribution to archery, as an athlete, a coach and a judge in October last year. She has around 45 years of experience in archery.
BAF’s program assistant, Dawa Zangmo, said that the federation could hardly afford a coach but Park Young Sook agreed to work with the federation at negotiated pay. “It is her interest to work in the country.”
She said the federation expects the national archers to receive world-class training. “We are fortunate to have her here as she is wanted in many countries.”
Park Young Sook will also give training to local coaches to help them identify potential players from schools in future.
She boasts of achieving miraculous results in all countries she has worked as a coach. “I am satisfied with my work in every country that I have worked.” She worked in Singapore, Italy, Malawi in Africa, and in South Korea before coming to Bhutan.
Park Young Sook went to train Italian recurve women’s team that won gold at the World Archery Championships in Turin, Italy in 2011. She also worked with the Singaporean team and Korean youth squad.
As one of the first archers from South Korea to compete in Olympics, she coached the first archer from Malawi to compete at the Rio Olympics 2016. She said that the archer recorded his best score in the Olympics.
She said that the federation needs to train lager number of players to select the best to represent the country in world championships. “I have seen many good players and they have a potential to be a better player. The federation can also have many players to select for the championships.”
She said that the recurve-bamboo bow used to train young players is not reliable to Olympic style.
The coach said the federation needs enough recurve bows and equipment for training. “I requested my coaches and few companies back home to support with spare limbs, bows, and equipment.”
Park Young Sook said that the federation suggested her to work until 2020 to prepare the archers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She, however, signed a one-year contract because of her health conditions.
“I was suggested not to travel abroad, especially to a higher altitude. But, as I reached here, I felt normal. I love to stay here,” she said.