Front row left to right Paralympic athletes Gyeltshen Gyeltshen, Pema Rigsel, Kinley Dem and Chimi Dema with Lyonchhen and MoH Minister

Bhutanese para-athletes head for World Para Athletics in Tokyo

The World Para Athletics in Tokyo confirmed the wild card entries for para-athletes Gyeltshen Gyeltshen and Chimi Dema, both of whom are to compete in the shotput event.

Gyeltshen Gyeltshen and Chimi Dema have secured the minimum qualifying score (MQS) during the 2019 World Para Athletics Championship in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai. The MQS requirement for shotput is 6 metre (m) for men and 4m for women. Gyeltshen has managed to score 6.29m, and Chimi Dema scored 4.51m.

Both of them have undergone intensive training for the competition. They are to be accompanied by their para-athletics coach, Penjore Gyeltshen for the championship.

Para archer Pema Rigsel and the para shooter Kinley Dem are also slated to to take part in the championship, depending on the COVID-19 situation and travel restrictions. There are 3 coaches and a team official to accompany the 4 para-athletes once all the wild card confirmation comes through.

Pema Rigsel secured the MQS of 575. He grabbed 601 points during the day-long national MQS competition organized by Bhutan Archery Federation as mandated by the World Archery Federation on 15 May.

Bhutan is yet to receive an invitation from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for para-athletes in the field of archery and shooting to participate in the upcoming 2020 Summer Paralympics Games at Tokyo, Japan.

After the confirmation, the Bhutanese team plans to go to Japan ahead of the competition for pre-practice and acclimatization.

The Head, Sports Research and Development Division, Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), Namgay Wangchuk, said that the first International debut participation was made in 2018. He is not expecting any medal as such because it has only been a few years that Bhutan Paralympic Committee (BPC) has been in operation, but he is hopeful that the players will perform well.

BPC is the national sports body for disabled athletes in Bhutan established in 2017. The 16th edition of the games will take place from 24 August to 5 September.

The tournament was supposed to take place in 2020, but was deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Paralympics games will introduce badminton and taekwondo, replacing sailing and seven-a-side football.

The Tokyo Paralympic Games will be the debut game for team Bhutan since its inception in September 2017.

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