ToD and Dragon Fury race to take place next year

Thinley Namgay 

The 11th edition of the  Tour of the Dragon (ToD) competition scheduled in September is cancelled.

The highly sought-after one-day mountain biking race among riders, both locals and international, have been deferred until next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Similarly, the organisers, Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) have also cancelled the Dragon Fury race, otherwise conducted on the same day.

Starting next year, BOC and its international partners have decided to conduct these two annual events once in two years.

ToD is the world’s toughest one-day mountain cycling race in the country, covering 268km from Bumthang to Thimphu. The Dragon Fury race stretches from Punakha to Thimphu covering around 60km.

The pandemic continues to affect other sport federations and associations.

The finals of the fourth Mewang Gyalsey traditional archery tournament is yet to be played between the teams from Trashiyangtse and Samdrupjongkhar. The match was initially scheduled on March 7.

Although the government has allowed the resumption of sports activities, Bhutan Indigenous Games and Sports Association (BIGSA) is taking extra precaution.

BIGSA’s Tshewang Namgyal said that the association could have conducted the finals in a closed-door set-up. However, given the ongoing concerns they wanted to wait. “The association respects the relentless effort of the government in battling the pandemic. We want the situation to get better.”

He said that after the finals, other pending competitions including the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial Archery tournament, National Sorsum tournament and Coronation Silver Jubilee National Archery tournament would also be conducted.

Meanwhile, another major competition cancelled due to the pandemic is the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Memorial Gold Cup at Phuentsholing. With the deferment of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Bhuntan’s lone participant in recurve archery, Karma awaits her moment at the world’s grandest stage – the Olympics.

Tshering Wangmo from Bhutan Shooting Federation said that the federation is going to conduct in-country shooting activities in July and August if the Covid-19 situation improves. The activities include awareness coaching camp in Paro, summer coaching camp and monthly control match in Thimphu.

The Bhutan Premier League is all set to begin from next month.

Other federations and associations are currently involved in training their athletes.