The six-day 5th India-Bhutan Friendship Tennis Tournament (IBFTT) began on July 2 and finals would be played tomorrow at the National Tennis Centre, Changlimethang, Thimphu.
Tennis lovers can watch the finals that would be broadcasted live on Bhutan Broadcasting Service channel 2 from 9:30 am onwards.
Gracing the launch of the event, Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Her Excellency Ruchira Kamboj said the occasion is special as it celebrates the friendship between two countries.
Sharing the extensive power of sport, Ambassador said that sports have always brought men and women together with effortless solidarity.
“This is one of the only platforms where after opposing sides have contended in breathless pursuit, the end is met with a gracious handshake,” she said adding that sports bring friends together.A veteran category tennis player, Pankaj Kuna Sharma from India, who has been participating from last year, said he looks forward for Bhutan and India relationship to grow stronger ever. In addition, he said many players from India are willing to participate in the tournament, however, because of the duration of the tournament that is about a week is extensive as most of them are working people. Bhutanese tennis player, Pema Norbu said there is not much competition among tennis players in Bhutan as only two tennis tournament are held in a year and they find it tough to compete with players from other countries.
“It is quiet challenging and practicing and actually playing is different,” he said. There are 75 players, including 20 from India and five from Nepal in the tournament.
The number of Indian tennis players has increased over the years and the players are from West Bengal, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland while players from Nepal are participating in the tournament from this year.
Bhutan Tennis Federation’s (BTF) General Secretary, Tshering Namgay, said although the players from Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are interested, because of the proximity of location of country, they are not able to come.
Four various categories such as Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Veterans (45 years and above), and Lucky Mixed Doubles are included.
The winner of the Men’s Singles will be awarded cash prize of Nu 50,000, Women’s Singles Nu 25,000 and for Veterans and Lucky Mixed Doubles, Nu 15,000 and Nu 20,000 respectively.
India-Bhutan Foundation (IBF) provided sponsorship for the tournament, in order to encourage sporting culture in Bhutan and to bring together tennis enthusiasts from both countries.
According to Embassy of India in Bhutan, the IBF was set up with the mandate to foster people-to-people links between both countries.
The IBFTT has emerged as one of the most popular and successful initiatives supported by the IBF.
It has been organized since 2015 by the BTF, with financial support from the IBF.
Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu