After more than a decade, Trashigang Sports Association (TSA) revived its annual traditional archery tournament this year.

During the first match yesterday, the highlanders from Sakteng took on the archers from Trashigang thromde.

With some of the best archers in both the teams, the match was dubbed as one of the most exciting games in the tournament. However, in the beginning, the highlanders found themselves struggling to adjust with the low altitude range.

But much to their relief, as rainfall increased and the temperature dropped, the visitors found themselves in a familiar environment. Their aims improved and their points on the board increased.

While their opponents drenched in rain braved the cold, the highlanders were well covered in their thick traditional attire, chuba. The visitors had come dressed in full traditional attire, starting from the impenetrable yak/sheep wool jackets (chuba) to the coarse yak-skin boots, Pu-lham.

Team Thromde captain, Karma, said that because of the cold, his players could not play their best. “Everyone is drenched in rain. The cold has affected our focus, which is important to hit the target,” he said.

Some of the players were seen changing their uniform in the middle of the game.

The captain said that his team was leading in the beginning. “If it wasn’t for the rain, we could have easily held onto our lead to the very end.”

The team however, managed to hit nine more karays against team Sakteng’s two in the second half of the match. Both teams hit 16 karays each during the 25 rounds. But with two sets to one, the highlanders won the match, knocking out their opponent from the tournament.

Team Sakteng’s captian, Tashi Tobgay, said the continuous rainfall also affected their performance. “Although the temperature might be lower in Sakteng, but we do not have rainfall like this in our place,” he said. “Our chubais already about 6kgs and the rain added some 3kgs more, constricting our movements.”

He said the team participated in the competition not only to win but also to share experiences and build friendship with rest of the players.

Archery secretary with the association, Ugyen Wangchuk, said the tournament was revived to promote traditional archery in the dzongkhag and build interactions among the gewogs.

He said that with limited budget, the event had to be discontinued for more than a decade. “Beginning this year, we will be making this an annual event with a rolling trophy for the winners,” he said.

The secretary added that from next year, the tournament would be exclusively traditional allowing players to use only traditional bow and arrows without any modern modifications.

All 15 gewogs in the dzongkhag including the thromde is taking part in the 15-day tournament.

Younten Tshedup  | Trashigang