Thinley Namgay  

To stop unnecessary gathering, the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) has temporarily deferred all the tournaments and championships until the end of this month.

BOC’s head of sports research and development division, Namgay Wangchuk, said BOC would send an official letter to all the sports federations and associations.

“Within this month, BOC will discuss with the federations and develop a proper protocol to start the tournaments by March,” Namgay Wangchuk said.

On January 29, the prime minister’s office’s notification on lifting the lockdown stated, “No tournaments are allowed unless approved by the BOC.”

However, the government permitted all sporting activities without spectators until 11pm. For archery and khuru, only 10 players are allowed.

After the lifting of restrictions on sports activities, people started indulging more on football and archery for personal exercise.

Thimphu City FC has also begun practice session at Changlimithang stadium for the upcoming AFC qualifier preliminary match against Club Eagles of the Maldives in April.

Meanwhile, local leaders said that the villagers were briefed about the risks of sporting activities.

Nyisho Gup, Dorji, said that the gewog administration had informed all his chiwog tshogpas  following prime minister’s address on tournaments. “Tournament is still risky amid the pandemic. People are respecting the rules as I could see only a few people playing archery in my gewog.”

“Archers of Nyisho used to be very busy at this time of the year by playing with other gewogs. We have a unique tradition of wearing ceremonial sword while playing archery. Losar is near, but we have to respect the government’s decision by resorting to only ten players at a time,” said Dorji.

Gangtey Gup, Gyeltshen, said that after losar, people of Gangtey used to play archery for 10 days every year. “Within these days, people are not allowed to work in the field as it is our tradition. This year, this celebration should be in line with Covid-19 protocol.”

Lingzhi Gup, Wangdi said that he doesn’t find people playing archery in Lingzhi these days. “It is windy and freezing. We have important traditional archery match in April dedicated to Zhabdrung Rinpoche, but we will adhere to Covid-19 protocol.”