Thinley Namgay

Four Bhutanese taekwondo athletes are currently at the Kyung-Il University in South Korea preparing for the upcoming 19th Asian Games which will be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8. 

Coach Bikash Rai’s team arrived in Korea on July 12 at the invitation of the Korea Taekwondo Association to prepare for more than two months. 

The athletes have been training regularly for the past few years in Bhutan. Bhutan Taekwondo Federation’s (BTF) Coach Bikash Rai, 36, is confident that his athletes would further improve their physical and mental abilities from the ongoing practice in Korea.

The coach said that qualities such as speed, fitness, endurance, and agility are paramount for athletes. “I am working to inculcate these potentials. They would improve under the guidance and coaching of qualified coaches in Korea.”

“Two of my athletes have commendable international experience. I hope they will do well. We continue to inspire and guide them,” he said.  

The forthcoming Asian Games will be a maiden journey for all four athletes.    

A senior taekwondo player at BTF, Tshering Yangchen, 20, from Chukha aspires to bag a medal for the country. It’s her eighth year as a national player. “I will do my best and make my country proud.” 

She had won a gold medal and a silver from her eight international tournaments to date. 

Dorji Khando, 26, from Chukha, is also one of the senior athletes who left a mark at the international competition. A few years ago, he won a silver medal at a tournament in Thailand.  

Dorji Khando said, “I aim to bring a medal.” 

Nima Wangdi and Sagar Rai don’t have much international game experience. Their focus is to take full advantage of the current training. 

Nima Wangdi, 20, from Bumthang joined the national team five years ago. He said that preparing for taekwondo in an advanced country would help him build confidence, gain exposure, and hone his skills.

Sagar Rai said that athletes are doing well today and training in Korea is an added advantage for them.  

BTF first took part at the Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1994.  Since then, the federation has been sending athletes to the games.