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Bhutanese athletes gear up for 18th Asian Games 2018

Bhutan will participate in four sporting disciplines: boxing, taekwondo, golf and archery in the upcoming 18th Asian Games, which is scheduled to be held from August 18 to September 2 in the Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia.

Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) has selected athletes from four national federations to represent the country at the event. In the last Asian games held in South Korea in 2014, a total of 16 Bhutanese athletes took part in seven different sports.

The Bhutanese delegation to the Asian Games will be led by the Secretary General and will have 36 members comprising 24 athletes (18 male and six female), seven coaches, two media personnel (BBS and Kuensel) and Chef De Mission and Deputy Chef de Mission.

Seven boxers, eight taekwondo players, one golfer and eight archers will be taking part in the 18th Asian Games.

Speaking to Business Bhutan, the lone female boxer, Tandin Lhamo said every participant in the event hopes for a medal for their country and she too dreams about winning one. “I will give my 101% to bring gold for the country” she added.

Tandin, a 21-year-old from Thomgang under Dagana had earlier participated in the International Ulaanbaatar cup 2017 in Mongolia.

Tshering Samdrup 21, who had been boxing since he was 11 has also attended four other international events.

“We had been training hard since last four to five months to achieve medals for our country and the matches won’t be easy but will try hard,” said Tshering.

Coach Tashi Phuntsho said the team is expecting at least more than five medals from all events as all the athletes have been trained sufficiently and most importantly they are gearing up mentally and physically too.

Karma, 28, from Tsenkharla in Trashiyangste is an Olympics-style archer and a three-time bronze medalist and silver medal winner. She also represented country at the Rio Olympics, Brazil in 2016 and has taken part in more than eight international competitions.

The team of archers left for Thailand on Tuesday.

Karma in an online interview said she is very excited and nervous at the same time. “It is time for me to show what I’ve learned so far against the Asian best archers.”

She also added training in Thailand is for the adaptataion to weather and to focus more on the game and training.

Golfer Ugyen Dorji said he needs more exposure and determination to work hard against the best athletes for the medal

One Taekwondo athlete said the team is working hard each day to prepare for the event and even if they lose, they will do it gracefully.

The sporting disciplines selected for the Asian Games were all based on their performance in the last South Asian Games (SAG) held in Guwahati and Shillong in 2016 except golf as it was not included in the SAG.

Most of the athletes are participating in the games for the first time except for a few archers. Taekwondo men’s team (five athletes and a coach) are in Korea undergoing training since June and they will go to Jakarta directly for the games.

The second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games will see 45 countries and more than 15,000 athletes and officials participating. About 40 different sports and 462 events will be played at the event.

Close to 5,000 media members from across the world are expected to cover the event.

Tshering from Thimphu