After losing their debut match against a local team from Trashigang, team IMTRAT registered their first win of the on-going Lingkhar annual archery tournament in Trashigang yesterday.

Team IMTRAT got to an impressive start in the 15-round match, while their opponents struggled to overcome from their two consecutive losses. The team defeated a local team, Pam Village, by three sets to one hitting 28 karays against 23 in the process.

“Our performance today was better than our previous games however, we lost the match,” said Tshewang Namgay, a Pam Village archer. “Despite our improved performance, they were the better team today.”

With IMTRAT’s two key players returned to the team, there was no stopping the soldiers.

“We were more focused this time. It didn’t take much time for our ace players to get acquainted with the range,” said Lakshmi Kanta Dash, one of the IMTRAT players. “This helped us set the momentum as the game progressed.”

The team of players from various wings (Haa, Yonphula, Thimphu, Phuentsholing) of the IMTRAT is competing in an archery tournament outside Haa for the first time.

“We’re not regular archery players. We take our chances only when there are competitions organised,” Lakshmi Kanta Dash said.

The team, however, struggled to celebrate their karays as jubilantly as the Bhutanese opponents. Except for the words like karay and dobjey, most of them were unaccustomed to the jargons used by their opponents.

“We also wanted to celebrate each of our karays like them but we don’t know how to dance to the Bhutanese songs,” said Lakshmi Kanta Dash. Apart from the periodic hesitant-bouncing around the targets, there was not much of a celebration for the Indian players during the game.

Another player, Ramendra Singh, said that it was a great opportunity to showcase their talent in archery.

“Archery is deeply rooted in the Bhutanese culture and getting an opportunity to play alongside the locals strengthens the friendship the two country shares.”

The tournament is organised to commemorate the birth anniversary of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey and also to observe the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relation between Bhutan and India.

A total of 17 teams from Trashigang, Pemagatshel, Trashiyangtse and Mongar are taking part in the tournament that began on February 3.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang