From about three international compound archery competitions Bhutan has taken part in, the best result came from the 12th South Asian Games in Shillong last year where the Bhutanese team and individual compound archers bagged a silver and a bronze respectively.

The most popular format currently in use is the Yangphel Style. In this format, three teams of six players (one extra) get to shoot a target placed at 145 meters apart. A team that makes the highest points over the 15 rounds wins the game.

The Yangphel Style replaced the traditionally practised format in 1997. In the traditional format, three teams with 11 members would compete to make 25 points to win the match.

In order to facilitate the Bhutanese archers to familiarise with the international standards, Yangphel Archery Committee will organise a compound archery competition next month in the international competition format.

Titled BAF (Bhutan Archery Federation) International Style Compound Archery Competition, the competition will replace the popular Yangphel Open Archery Tournament.

In this format, the target is placed at 50 metres.  However, instead of just hitting the target, one must be able to strike the center with the 80 cm target face with concentric rings giving one points from five to 10.

The committee’s president, Tsewang Rinchen, said that the earlier tournament (Yangphel tournament) fulfilled its mandate of promoting archery since the format of the tournament is now being used all across the country.

He said that the format is being used not just for archery, but also for Khuru and degor. “Every regional archery tournament features such format, and have become the base for some other styles to emerge,” said Tsewang Rinchen. “For Yangphel Archery Committee to continue organising similar tournament would be redundant since many local organisers are already engaged all year round in same style.”

The committee is currently conducting workshop to create awareness on the international style of compound archery competition, which is also known as World Archery Style.

After completion of the workshop in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, the committee will cover the remaining Yangphel venues – Phuentsholing, Tsirang, Trongsa, Bumthang, Mongar, and Trashigang.

“Currently there is a gap among archers in our country. We have the best archers in the world but we have not been able to perform competitively in the international stage,” said Tsewang Rinchen. “With the introduction of the new format, we expect our archers to perform better at international competitions and ultimately take the name of Bhutan to the top at world level.”

Organiser of Yangphel archery tournament in Trashigang, Namgay Wangchuk, said that many of the regular archers have approached him showing their interest in the new format. “Of the 68 regular archers we have in the dzongkhag, 45 of them have shown their interest,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for archers like us to showcase our talent and also to represent the country in an international competition.”

The 38-year-old businessman said that he has seen on television how international archers play the format. “It looks easier. But we would still need months of training to perfect it.”

He said that only a handful of archers in Trashigang currently use accessories like scope, trigger, sight and peep. “We would need to learn how to use these accessories to compete internationally. We are excited with the new idea of the committee.”

During the 19 Yangphel Open archery tournaments in 2015, the Bhutan Olympic Committee approved the use of accessories on compound bows to give the archers an edge to compete in international competitions.

Along with the cash prizes, Yangphel Archery Committee will provide bows and accessories during the competition. The competition will be organised and sponsored by Yangphel in collaboration with BAF to help the federation select compound archery team for the upcoming Asian Archery Championship later this year in November, which will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang