Bhutan will be sending 28 athletes, its highest-ever contingent for the 19th Asian Games, which is set to get underway at Hangzhou, China, from September 23.
The event will conclude on October 8.
According to Bhutan Live, “The Bhutanese athletes will compete in 10 disciplines. Bhutanese athletes will be competing in karate, boxing, taekwondo, golf, archery, shooting, swimming, athletics, judo, and badminton events. It will be a debut in judo, swimming, karate, and badminton for Bhutan at the Asian Games. 10 coaches will accompany the 28 athletes. With preparation for the games in full swing, some of the athletes are training in sports complexes abroad.”
Bhutan has been competing at the Asian Games since the 1986 Games in South Korea, but are yet to win a medal.
Bhutanese swimmers and badminton players are training in Thailand and four taekwondo players are training at the Kyung-Il University in South Korea, it added.
Bhutanese player contingent for the 19th Asian Games includes:
30-year-old Lenchu Kuenzang, who will be competing in the 10-metre air rifle category, has the backing of the nation behind him as he is being billed as a medal-contender for Bhutan.
Lenchu Kuenzang said, “I have been shooting for about 10 years. I have received more training and also participated in multiple competitions. I have also participated in the Tokyo Olympic Games and I was able to break my record. To enter the final, I only need about 10 points. Compared to the previous games, I am confident and I hope to break my record,”
Goma Pradhan, a long-distance runner in the 5,000-metre run, said, “I will be competing in the 5,000-metre race. In the past, when I went to the South Asian Games, my personal best time was 17 minutes and 24 seconds. Once again I am in the selection process. Last time, I was busy in college because of my nursing course. Since I was in another district doing an internship, I could not train properly. The federation and BOC want me to beat my previous personal best. If I can beat that, I will be selected for the Asian Games,”
Tandin Wangchuk, a judoka, said, “I am not so confident as this is the first time judo is being represented from Bhutan at the Asian Games. But in terms of our experience, we have a lot of experience. I have participated in the world championships as well. Moreover, I have participated three times in the South Asian Games. I will work hard and hope to do well.”
Sonam Dema, an athlete in recurve archery said, “I faced a lot of difficulties when I went out for the first time. The more opportunities we get to compete in international competitions, the more confident we get. We feel the same while training here and when we go outside. When we compete outside time and again, we know our mistakes and can improve for future competitions.”
\Khendrup, an athlete in compound archery, told Bhutan Live, “There is a lot of difference between those who train and those who do not train. For a person who plays in an archery range of 145 metres, it won’t make much difference even if they play after three to four months. If we do not train 50 metres like we do here, we won’t be able to play well and this needs continuous training.”
Tandin Dorji, an athlete in compound archery said, “We start our training at six in the morning till 10 am. In the evening, we start our training from four till 7 pm. Sometimes, we stay till 8 and 9 pm as there are floodlights installed here. Compared to the past, we are training hard this year. We have experience and we hope to get medals. We are not getting enough time to train, for example, I have to go to the office and three of my friends are doing business, because of that we do not get time to train.”