With no preparations underway, bodybuilders are asking if the 10th edition of the annual Mr Bhutan contest would be held this year.
A three-time Mr Bhutan winner, Tandin Wangchen said that in the past, bodybuilders would be preparing for the national championship by now. “There are no activities happening and it seems there is no Mr Bhutan championship this year,” he said. “It is from the national championship the athletes get to take part in international competitions.”
He added that Mr Bhutan championship was the main event for bodybuilders and many have taken up the sport. “Most bodybuilders don’t know what to do. Without a national championship there is no aim and ways to move forward with the sport,” he said.
Bhutan Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Federation got officially segregated into Bhutan Bodybuilding Association (BBA), and Bhutan Weightlifting Association (BWA) in December last year.
An official from Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) said there was no budget allocated for the national bodybuilding championship this year. “After BBWLF got dissolved there was no budget allocation made for BBA.”
The official added that budget would not be allocated for the national bodybuilding championship until the association is properly formed.
BOC provides respective national sports federations with a minimum of Nu 300,000 to organise national championships.
Focal person from BOC for BBA Tshering Zangmo, said by the time she was handed over BBWLF last September, the athletes has begun to participate at international competitions privately. “Despite ambiguity in the association’s status, I feel that the segregation took place earlier,” she said. “All activities and proposals were related to weightlifting.”
After meeting with bodybuilding athletes and gym owners in March, BOC announced five-office bearer posts for BBA. However, except for one post, there were no nominations filed to date.
“We need to form an association first to organise competitions. Unless athletes and those interested come forward, it will not be possible to form an association,” Tshering Zangmo said.
Since its establishment in 2002, BBWLF has won about six gold medals, a silver and 12 bronzes from South Asian, Asian, and world bodybuilding and physique championships.
Bhutanese bodybuilders took part at international championships since 2006. Bodybuilders claim that the sport was the most successful sport at international competitions.
Gold medalist at world bodybuilding and physique championship, Thinley Dorji said the impact of the sport’s growth was visible through the change observed in the society.
“The championship made people more aware of health and fitness,” Thinley Dorji said. “The championship promoted health and fitness.”
The athlete added that bodybuilding is no different from other sports. He said that athletes and gym owners are in consultation with BOC and seeking advise on how to go ahead with the national championship this year.
The first and three-time Mr Bhutan winner, Tshering Dorji said that every individual dreamt of winning the Mr Bhutan title. “In the country, it is the gold standard of excellence and an achievement in our sport and society,” he said. “It is clearly a lost opportunity for weight trainers and bodybuilders in Bhutan to excel and shine.”