A 17-member Indian athletics team is training at Thimphu since May 21 for four weeks as preparation for the Asian Games to be held from August 18 to September 2 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Indian athletics team comprises six female and 11 male along with three coaches and a masseur. They are the second batch of Indian track and field athletes who left their country for foreign training.
India’s athletics middle and long distance runners are in Bhutan to train as part of preparations for the upcoming Asian Games.
Speaking to Business Bhutan, Indian athletic coach Surendra Singh said that the athletes are in Bhutan for high altitude training and also due to the country’s good synthetic track.
He also added the training is located at a height of more than 2,500 m while their athletes have been training at below 2,000m. “The training at the high altitude will benefit all the athletes and we hope for the best results at the Asian Games.”
Along with the Indian athletics team, the Bhutanese athletics team is also being trained to get exposure and experience. By training at high altitudes, athletes can allow their bodies to produce extra red blood cells. The effect lasts for 10 to 20 days. They then head to compete at lower elevation with their changed physiology.
2010 Asian Games and 2017 Asian Championships Gold Medalist in 3000 m chase, Sudha Singh said that training at a high altitude is a completely different experience and has more advantages during the event.
Meanwhile, 2016 South Asian Games Gold Medalist, Gopi Thonakal said Bhutan has a good synthetic track and he hopes to bring a medal for India with training experience in Bhutan.
Bhutan Amateur Athletics Federation General Secretary Dorji Tenzin said training at higher than 2,500m altitude will directly benefit middle and long distance runners or those competing in sports.
The General Secretary also added that the authorities are planning to set up a high performance training center for the athletes in and outside the country. “The new set will promote and improve our players.”
According to him, this is the first time the country has received athletes from other countries to be trained and this will attract more athletes in the future.
The 18th Asian Games is commonly known as Jakarta Palembang 2018 and is a pan-Asian multi-sport event. For the first time, the Asian Games are being co-hosted in two cities; the Indonesian capital of Jakarta (which is hosting the Games for the first time since 1962), and Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra province.
Tshering from Thimphu