The Paralympic team has attracted international media attention (Left) & Team Bhutan at the Opening Ceremony (Right)

Bhutan makes its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics with a para athlete who qualified on her own performance

Bhutan has made its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games, which is the 16th edition of the games, on 24 August. Also as a first, a Bhutanese female para-athlete, Chimi Dema, 28, is representing Bhutan at the Games. She was the proud flag bearer during the opening ceremony.

Like archer Karma from Bhutan, who made history by qualifying for the Olympics, Chimi Dema has also created history by securing a Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) during the 2019 Dubai World Para Athletics Championships. She secured MQS of 4.51m exceeding the requirement of 4m in shotput.

Chimi Dema will be competing in the Women’s Shot Put- F40 category. She has been training rigorously for the last three years. She has the experience of competing in two international championships, World Para Athletics Championship Dubai and Beijing Grand Prix, in the previous years.

After completing Class XII, Chimi worked in a private company. She said Bhutan Paralympic Committee provided her with many opportunities, which has helped gain a meaningful life.

“Representing my country is a big deal for me, and I must do my best during the competition. I feel proud about what I have achieved in the last three years. My life has changed a lot since I started Para athletics. I am also getting lots of support from various organizations now to fully focus on my sport,” said Chimi.

Chimi Dema will compete on 4th September.

Aside from Chimi, two other Bhutanese para-athletes will be competing in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Gyeltshen, 28, will be competing in the Men’s Shot Put- F40 category, while Pema Rigsel, 34, will be competing in para archery on 27 August and September 3. Pema was previously Bhutan’s first para-athlete to appear at the Asian Para Games in 2018. This is his first time participating in the Paralympic Games.

Gyeltshen and Chimi Dema practiced shot put under the guidance of their coach Penjore Gyeltshen.

Gyeltshen who bettered personal records with a throw of 6.29m at Dubai 2019 competed on 29 August at 7:53 AM (BST) in the Paralympic Stadium and he bettered his own personal best. He admitted that the Games will be a tough challenge, but he wanted to ensure that his performance will be better than 2019.

Pema Rigsel competed against 13 Para Archers in W2: Sports Class W2 category and 17 Para Archers in ST: Sports Class Standing category in the Men’s Recurve Open Archery Ranking round at 11:00 AM (BST). Pema Rigsel made his debut in the Paralympic Games on 27 August, and has made it through for the next round.

Pema shot 72 arrows and scored 523 points out of 720 points. He is ranked 30th out of 31 participants. Pema will be facing Russian Archer, Smirnov Kirill, who scored 632 points out of 720 points, during the ranking. Pema will be competing in the next round on 3 September.

“I participated in international tournaments before. And based on those experiences, I trained hard for this event. I am hoping to do better than my past performances. I feel proud to get the opportunity to participate in the event,” said Pema Rigsel.

“Our athletes have been training continuously, in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. I am quite confident that they will perform well,” said Namgyal Wangchuk, Bhutan’s Chef de Mission for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

There are 4,537 para-athletes from 163 nations taking part in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games. Japan is hosting the Games for the second time; the first time was in 1964.

The Paralympic team has received messages of support from the Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering wishing the team success and sending his prayers.

The team also received messages of support from students with disability from Jigme Sherubling Central School, Tsangkha Central School, Muenselling Institute of Khaling and actor Tandin Sonam.

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