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A plethora of sports to pick from

But almost all coaching camps are being held in western and southern Bhutan

Student Activity: Hundreds of students will be spending their winter vacation in sports facilities this year, with the Bhutan Olympic Committee organising various coaching camps in various parts of the country.

The selection for the U14 and U16 national men’s football team is underway in Gelephu.  Initially, some 400 football enthusiasts from across the country registered for the selection, and the camp is now working with 110 players.

A total of 20 players will be selected for the two categories and then trained under the FIFA Goal Project, coaching coordinator, Chokey Nima, said.  The selection camp will end on January 10.

Bhutan Tennis Federation has completed its coaching camp in Wangdue, and is now engaging around 70 students in Thimphu, who are divided into three groups of U10, U12 and U14.

The tennis courts are brimming with children and balls, as they learn to bounce, balance the balls on their colourful rackets, and learn the game’s basics.

Head coach Tshering Namgay said, during winter and summer breaks, the centre court at Changlimithang is filled with enthusiastic tennis players. “These days, even parents come looking for such events to be organised,” he said. “Team work, value for sports, and discipline as part of the camp is our objective for organising these events.”

The coach said children are learning and enjoying as well.  The best 15 from the camp will be selected for the BTF squad and regular trainings provided to prepare them for tournaments.  After Thimphu, the camp will move to the tennis courts of Phuentsholing, and then to Gomtu.

Meanwhile, another group of youngsters is warming up and stretching their bodies under the cold sun at the synthetic track in Yangchenphug.  They are the 50 selected athletes from the 9th National School Games, learning the techniques of runs, throws and jumps.

Along with them are about 30 children, who are learning to become athletes and, soon, the 70 participants from the tennis camp would join them.

Four athletes will be selected to train with the national squad.  One of the athletes, a middle distance runner from Taktse MSS, Trongsa, Til Bhadur Ghalley said the skills he has learnt on how to run, the hand eye coordination and other techniques would enable him and his friends back home.

A coach with the Bhutan Amateur and Athletics Federation, Kinzang Dorji, said the camp has brought together some promising athletes from across the country, and is now focusing on instilling the “right tact” into the participants.

Citing her improved performance, Sonam Choki, a class 12 student, from Sherub Reldi high school, Mongar said she is able to perform better with the right techniques and coordination.

Another game that youth play in the country is badminton and, to keep their interest in the game going, the Bhutan Badminton Federation is deploying three coaches to Samtse, Samdrupjongkhar and Sarpang, to conduct coaching camps from January 15 to 30.  A table tennis coaching camp is also underway in Phuentsholing.

For those, who like to shoot, rifles and pistols would be available for some 50 members, who will be selected on a first come first serve basis for the coaching camp by the Bhutan Shooting Federation.  The camp begins from January 18 at the shooting range in Changlimithang.

One of the coaching coordinators, Dorji Phurba, said the camp is organised to find talents and to promote the sport.

Although hundreds of youth will be involved in meaningful activities during the vacation, many more youth, especially in the east, would have no such activities to get enrolled in.  That’s because almost all coaching camps are centred in western and southern Bhutan.

By Sherub Dorji

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