… along with NGO Athletic Society of Japan

Athletics: Bhutanese track and field athletes will receive assistance for the Athletic Society, a Non-Government Organisation in Japan, and Yorii town in Osato-gun district, Saitama Prefecture for the 2020 Olympics preparations.

A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), the Athletic Society and Yorii town on October 14 in Thimphu. The MoU was signed by HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, the president of BOC, and Dai Tamesue, the founder of the Athletic Society and the mayor of Yorii town, Toshiichiro Hanawa.

According to the MoU, Yorii town and the Athletic Society will facilitate pre-game training camps for the Bhutanese track and field athletes at the town and also Japanese coaches and experts will visit Bhutan over the next four years to train the athletes. Provision of airfare, training facilities, accommodation and local transportation for the pre-camp will be borne by Yorii town.

A detailed action plan to implement the pre-camp and exchange programmes, consisting of budget, timelines and programmes, will be discussed and finalised over the next three months, according to officials from the Athletic Society.

Collaboration between the BOC and Athletic Society started in 2014 when Dai Tamesue, a former Olympian conducted coaching camps for the Bhutanese athletes in Thimphu.

It was through Dai Tamesue, the two-time bronze medalist at the 2001 and 2005 world championship, that the mayor Toshiichiro Hanawa knew about the assistance Bhutanese athletes required.

“Bhutan and its people are known for the happiness philosophy. Yorii wants to learn the secret to happiness that is why we were interested to lend our assistance,” said Toshiichiro Hanawa.

Earlier in May this year, three athletes led by HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck visited Yorii and had a weeklong training in the town.

“Bhutan has a good sporting culture and it is in its developing phase,” said Dai Tamesue. “Our society wants to help these young athletes grow in a proper manner so that they can achieve greater success in the international stage.”

The former Olympian said that for Bhutanese athletes to achieve success, they need to focus on two main aspects: trained and professional coaches and mastering a particular discipline.

“It will be very difficult for Bhutanese to achieve success in the 100 and 200 metre sprints because there are better athletes in the world who have mastered the discipline,” said Dai Tamesue, adding that Bhutanese athletes perform better in long distance running because of their natural adaptation. “I also see potential in technical disciplines like certain throws and jumps which require more technical training than just physical strength.”

Toshiichiro Hanawa said that his town will provide all necessary facilities to the athletes to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “I would personally like to see some of these athletes make it to the Olympics.”

As per the MoU, starting 2017, a series of sports and cultural exchange programmes will commence among the three parties.

Younten Tshedup