Two archers, who returned home from Japan after receiving three years training in archery, said they wanted to pursue it as a life-long career.
Sonam Choden, 23, and Nidup Dorji, 19, obtained scholarships through the SEISA group of Japan. They were the first Bhutanese to obtain a scholarship in archery.
Sonam Choden from Silambi in Mongar obtained the scholarship in 2017 after winning a high school archery competition organised by Bhutan Archery Federation (BAF) at Gyalpozhing. Nidup Dorji from Kangpara in Trashigang obtained the scholarship after winning the eastern dzongkhag recurve archery competition conducted by BAF in 2017. Besides regular training, they studied English, Mathematics, History, Science, Sports Nutrition, Health and Physical Education, Japanese language and Modern Society for three years.
Sonam Choden said that the SEISA high school was focusing more on sports. “There was no subject options and I had to take all the subjects.”
She said she learnt other lessons in Japan. “I learnt to be on time, understand each other and to be frank.”
Nidup Dorji said BAF’s head coach, Park Young Sook from South Korea, is doing everything she could. “We have to support her ideas when she is in the country.”
Meanwhile, the two are not members of BAF as of now.
Sonam Choden said she wants to join BAF and continue playing archery. Nidup Dorji said he would love to continue playing archery, but wants to complete his studies.
Their mentor and guardian, Hiroaki Ishida, said the two performed well in academics and archery.
He said they would continue their scholarship programme with Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC). “It’s called BOC SEISA Sports Scholarship. We support the events for the grassroots, not only archery but also the relevant events and competitions organised by BOC.”
SEISA programme was started in Bhutan in 2016. Yasuo Miyazawa, 71, is the founder and chief executive officer of the SEISA group.