…28 𝑨𝒕𝒉𝒍𝒆𝒕𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 11 𝑪𝒐𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒔 𝑹𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒚 𝒕𝒐 𝑹𝒆𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝑩𝒉𝒖𝒕𝒂𝒏 𝒊𝒏 10 𝑫𝒊𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝑺𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒔 𝒂𝒕 𝑨𝒔𝒊𝒂𝒏 𝑮𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒔 2023
The 19th Asian Games, scheduled to take place later this year, will witness Bhutan’s largest-ever contingent of athletes. The Bhutanese delegation comprises an ensemble of 28 athletes accompanied by a team of 11 coaches, firmly insinuating the nation’s determination to thrive on the regional sporting stage. The 19th Asian Games is scheduled from September 23 to October 8, 2023.
Earlier in the 18th Asian Games, Bhutan had only 22 athletes. Bhutan’s journey on the Asian Games platform began in 1986 during the 10th Asian Games. The inaugural participation witnessed a delegation of nine athletes donning the Bhutanese colors. Since then, Bhutan’s participation in the Asian Games has evolved from a nascent endeavor to a full-fledged commitment.
The Asian Games of 2023 is set to be a grand spectacle, encompassing a diverse range of 40 sports and 61 disciplines.
This edition will serve as a platform to display athletic excellence and facilitate cultural interchange, as representatives from various Asian nations engage in friendly competition under the principles of sportsmanship and camaraderie. The organization of the Asian Games has been overseen by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) since 1982. This continental multi-sport event occurs every four years, uniting athletes from across the Asian continent. The upcoming 2023 Asian Games will mark the event’s 19th edition, with China chosen to host this event. Officially referred to as the “19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022,” the event was originally slated for the preceding year but was rescheduled due to the unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, Bhutan will be competing in 10 different sports, including archery, running, shooting, boxing, karate, golf, judo, taekwondo, badminton, and swimming.
The Taekwondo team is training at Kyuug-II University in Seoul, South Korea, with support from Korea Taekwondo. They will travel directly to Hangzhou. A coach (Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist) and fitness coach are training the team. They will also participate in local tournaments and get the opportunity to train with the National Taekwondo team of Korea.
The badminton team is presently undergoing training at the Poonsana Badminton Academy in Bangkok, Thailand. A coach from the Bhutan Badminton Federation will accompany the team during the Asian Games. Similarly, the swimming team has been undergoing training at the Thanyapura Sports Training Center in Phuket, Thailand, since 2019. Meanwhile, Tshering Penjor, who will participate in the Men’s 200 and 400 meters athletics events, is currently undergoing training in Kokufuhongok, Japan. On the other hand, the remaining sports are exclusively undergoing training within Bhutan.
Sonam Tshewang, CDM of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, said, “Given our constrained infrastructure and facilities, conducting comprehensive training for diverse sports within Bhutan poses challenges. However, a select few sports have been fortunate to garner support from foreign nations, affording them the opportunity to undergo training abroad. As for the remaining sports, which are trained domestically, we are actively seeking similar forms of support. Such assistance would not only facilitate their training under the mentorship of seasoned professionals but also expose them to invaluable experiences, enabling them to refine their skills through interactions and practice sessions with accomplished national athletes from other countries.”
The Bhutanese athletes have been honing their skills, pushing their limits, and striving for excellence in anticipation of the forthcoming Asian Games. Their journey embodies the essence of dedication, discipline, and determination, serving as a source of inspiration for aspiring athletes within Bhutan and beyond.”