Bhutanese Boxers hope for a medal in the Asian Games 2014

With the 17th Asian Games happening in September this year, the Bhutanese boxers set to compete in the games are generating quite the buzz as two leading newspaper journalists, Choi You Tak, deputy head of department of culture and sports at the Kiho Daily paper and Ahn Jae Gyun, a reporter, of the same paper visited Bhutan to write stories on the Korean boxing coach for Bhutan. The Korean coach was assigned to prepare Bhutanese boxers for the Asian Games, as a part of the Incheon Vision Project 2014.Such coaching has boosted the hopes of the Bhutanese boxers. During an interview with the Korean journalists held at BOC conference hall on April 15, the Bhutanese boxers said they are aiming for gold.

The 17th Asian Games, officially known as the XVII Asiad, comprises of 437 events in 36 different sports. It is the largest sporting event in Asia governed by Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

One of the boxers selected to participate in Asian Games, in the 56 kg weight category, said he has gained much from the training under the Korean Coach and expects to win a medal.

“Boxing is a difficult sport as it is not a team event, so all the responsibility is on oneself. I am training hard and am hopeful to get a medal at Incheon,” he added.

Another boxer in the 69 weight category, Sonam Tshering, said he wants to become a boxing coach someday and train Bhutanese youth. He added that the Korean coach helped him to improve on the technical aspects of the sport.

Choi You Tak of Kiho Daily said the purpose of his visit to Bhutan was to highlight the Incheon Vision Project 2014 and report on the changes and achievement under the project.

“Let share the medals, support countries,” said Choi, as the objective of the project is to reach medals to the unreached countries.

The Secretary General of Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), Sonam Karma Tshering said Incheon Vision Project 2014 was carried out in right time as Bhutan was reforming its sport sector and required lots of resources and assistance. He said Bhutan will continue to seek support from South Korea for future training needs of athletes.

“If project is going to continue, Bhutan will definitely be part of the project,” Sonam said. He added that the Bhutanese boxers have trained very hard and hopes for the gold this time.

BOC is sending 13 athletes to participate in events such as boxing, golf, shooting, taekwondo, athletics, archery and tennis. The five- member boxing group is the largest.

The Secretary General, BOC also said boxing, being the elite sport, is not popular with the masses, and therefore, needs support such as coaches from abroad. He thanked the Korean coach Kim for helping coach the Bhutanese boxers and on winning a few regional medals in Indonesia and Russia.

Although 60% of the population in Bhutan is under the age of 29, however, there is a lack of sporting culture within the youth.

“The main objective is to set up a sporting culture. Once all the children are engaged in sports, the talent will rise like a pyramid,” Secretary General, BOC, Sonam Karma Tshering said.

He said the sporting culture can be strengthened with strong governance system and financial sustainability. Currently, 80% of financial support from government goes towards building infrastructure and enhancing sports system in schools and communities.

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