Athletes stay at home but stay fit

Ever since the implications of social or physical distancing, athletes have had to discontinue their routine training sessions and activities. Despite all these, the various federations and associations under the Bhutan Olympic Committee firmly believe that their hunger and passion for the sport will not be affected very much.

Head of Media and Marketing, Bhutan Football Federation, Phuntsho Wangdi, said “In terms of morale, the players have a strong reason to be much more inspired than before. With the recent salary Kidu and recognition from His Majesty, they utterly love their place in the team. When it comes to fitness, yes, there will be a slight difference but most of our players are taking up cycling, jogging and other fitness routines to keep themselves in shape. From the federation’s side, we have asked them to minimize social gatherings and stay mindful during this period. We currently have fitness test system which determines that the players maintain their fitness to be eligible for the team training sessions.”

He added that on the financial front, the clubs have been hit a bit hard as normally there would be grants and other sources of income from sponsors, AFC and also FIFA matches. He said that with the lack of tournaments, there are no sources of income for those players and clubs. Some of the players are also living on rented homes, therefore, BFF has currently given a sustaining fund of Nu 2,00,000 to the top 6 clubs out of the 8 clubs.

“Currently the BOB Premier League has been halted and other international tournaments due to COVID-19 restrictions” he added.

On the other hand, athletics which do not require much teamplay are also reportedly staying fit doing workouts and fitness activities on their own as stated by Dorji Tenzin, Secretary General of the Bhutan Amateur Athletics. He said, “The athletes really understand the severity of the situation but when it comes to their regular training, there is naturally a slight difference of doing it without an instructor”.

Secretary General of the Bhutan Tennis Federation, Tshering Namgay, and the Secretary General of Bhutan Olympic Committee, Sonam Karma Tshering, stated that it is a good opportunity for them to revamp their administrative system, as usually they would be more occupied with the field work and training. They said that this time can be utilized by all the respective federations to look into their strategic plans, training routines and other aspects of the administrative decision in a reflective and introspective way.

Bhutan Karate, which is currently just an association, was looking to participate in one of their first tournaments in Dubai organized by the World Karate Federation. It had to be held up due to the current situation.

The assistant national Karate Coach, Tshering Dorji, said that currently they are looking to organize a small support initiative to the karate members staying at homes since they are basically self-funded program as of now. He said that the program is to keep the participants engaged through video competitions and encourage fitness activities while staying at home.

Program officer for the Bhutan Archery Federation, Pema Zangm, said the archers have been training in their homes as per the coach’s instructions.

She stated that the archers are following a scheduled routine of drawing bows, number of jumping jacks and other physical activities to keep themselves fit during this time.

As for Table Tennis Federation, their assistant coach said that the youth are very eager to get back to playing, and they are getting frequent calls from the youth asking when the restriction period will be over. He said that the usual daily training sessions for the youth, which spanned from Monday till Saturday after school, had to shut down due to COVID-19.

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