Students practicing badminton during a recent coaching program in Bumthang.
Bumthang Sports Association (BSA) has been coaching students from class six and below in badminton, basketball and other games as a winter sports activity program. The 6- day coaching was organized on a budget of Nu 350,000 assigned by the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC).
Students from three schools, Gangrithang Primary School, Wangduechoeling Lower Secondary School and Zangtherpo Primary School participated in the badminton coaching. The students gathered for the 2 days of training in Wangduechoeling School multipurpose hall. The coaching which ended around two weeks ago will be continued in a similar manner but for different games during the upcoming vacations.
General Secretary, BOC, Kinley Tshering said that badminton is the fourth most popular sports in the country but due to lack of infrastructure people are often discouraged to play the game.
“Theoretically, we might be able to teach the youth, but Bhutan cannot produce elite players because the lack of infrastructures which result in lesser trainings,” Kinley Tshering said. However, BOC is confident that with proper facilities and training of players in badminton, Bhutan could bring home medals.
BOC takes complete care of the potential candidates. Usually the badminton champions come from the southern region in Bhutan. Recently two badminton players (a male and a female) received full scholarships to pursue their undergraduate studies in the Royal Thimphu College and Gaeddu College of Business Studies.
“These recipients and the ones who will receive this scholarship will have to oblige to the terms set by BOC, but in such an arrangement that it doesn’t affect the studies of the players,” Kinley Tshering said. Badminton national coach, Dorji, said the players are encouraged to keep practicing even after graduation and often end up working as a coach.
“BOC came up with such strategies of providing education opportunities to keep the players encouraged and motivated and also to bust the usual Bhutanese belief that people cannot earn money through sports,” Kinley Tshering said.
According to Electoral Registration Officer in Bumthang who serves as the secretary for BSA, Thinley Zangpo, BSA’s main intention in providing the coaching is to promote youth development in healthy sports and activities during the free times they have.
The coaching was made possible with the technical assistance and resource provided by the National Sports Federation.
At the moment, BOC is building multipurpose sports hall in Samdrupjongkhar, Phuntsholing, Punakha and Bumthang. Table tennis facility, sports recreation centers and Olympic shooting complex are some of the few sports infrastructure that Thimphu can expect to see in the coming year.
Five additional football turfs will be placed in Gyelposhing, Kanglung, Bumthang, Samdrupjonkhar and Phuntsholing to enhance the football experience for the youth. In the 11th Five-Year Plan, about Nu 350 mn was allocated for BOC by the Royal Government of Bhutan for developing sports facilities in Bhutan.