SAG: Bhutanese athletes displayed impressive skills at the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) in Guwahati and Shillong to win 16 medals at the games.
As expected Bhutanese athletes grabbed medals in archery, boxing and taekwondo.
Like in most of the previous international tournaments the country has taken part in, taekwondo was once again the discipline that bagged the maximum medals (nine bronze) for Bhutan at the competition.
After going down against India in the fight for the gold, the Bhutanese compound bow team managed to win a lone silver medal at the JNL Sports Complex Polo Ground in Shillong. The team also contributed four bronze medals to the country’s medal tally.
All the medals came from the games that were conducted in Shillong, the co-host of the games. In a game that was thoroughly dominated by the Afghan and Indian boxers, Bhutanese boxers still managed to go pound for pound, and snatch two bronze medals.
However, after winning 16 medals, Bhutan stands at the bottom of the table with only one silver and 15 bronze medals. Maldives whose medal tally is comparatively less (three) than Bhutan is in the seventh position because of the two silver medals the Maldivian athletes won.
The chief of the Bhutanese contingent at the competition, Nim Dorji, said that the athletes performed more than what he would have bargained for at the competition. “Our aim was to double the medal tally from our last performance at the 11th SAG,” he said. “We could only win five medals back then but this time we’re bringing home three times more than what we could bring last time.”
Nim Dorji added that the competition was an exposure for the young Bhutanese athletes against their regional counterparts. “With such exposures, we hope our athletes will become more competent and experienced for the future games,” he said.
Meanwhile, host India dominated in every event of the competition winning an astounding 183 gold, 88 silver and 30 bronze medals. However, the Indians were denied the gold in the under-23 boys football competition when Nepal defeated the hosts in a 2-1 action-packed finals on February 15. India’s wait for the gold in football at the South Asian Games continues.
Of the 10 sporting events Bhutan was supposed to take part in, the country played in nine disciplines. Women’s basketball was ruled-off following FIBA’s (Federation International Basketball Association) decision to cancel the event on grounds of interference from the government and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
The 12th SAG concluded yesterday with an official closing ceremony at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Guwahati.
The 117-member Bhutanese contingent returns home today.
Younten Tshedup , Guwahati