Of the 24 Bhutanese athletes competing at the ongoing 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, 23 have been eliminated as of day eight.
The three-men compound team lost to Iran by 217-231 in the 1/8 elimination round at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) archery range in Jakarta yesterday.
The men’s recurve team lost by 0-6 to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the round of 16 eliminations on August 25.
The mix recurve team also suffered a similar fate when they were knocked out of the competition after losing 1-5 to Myanmar on August 24.
Unlike the performance at the South Asian Games in 2016, where the Bhutanese archers bagged five medals including silver, archers (individuals and team) failed to perform at the Asian Games.
The lone golfer, Ugen Dorji, who started the campaign on a high note finished in the 68th position from a total of 86 golfers at the end of the fourth day of the competition yesterday.
After a successful day one for the Bhutanese golfer, the 18-year-old dropped to 59th position from 40th on the second day of the competition.
Ugen Dorji’s position further dropped on the third day and finished 68th on the board.
The official accompanying, Phuntsho Gyaltshen, said, given Ugen’s struggle off the tee over the last four rounds, he gave his best.
Ugen Dorji often found the hazard leading to several dropped shots.
“He fought back with a few birdies but they weren’t enough to make up for the errant shots off the tee,” Phuntsho Gyaltshen said.
He said the course wasn’t a long course but it was punishing for the player that couldn’t hit the fairway. “Ugen’s first and the last round was respectable but nowhere near his potential.”
In boxing, Tshering Samdrup lost to Uulu Kadyrbek Argen of Kyrgyzstan after the referee stopped the fight in the second round at the Jakarta International Expo hall yesterday.
Some powerful jabs were exchanged in the first round. However, the 21-year-old who resorted to a defensive approach was mostly capitalising just on the counters. His taller opponent, on the other hand, took the advantage of the reach and connected some heavy blows to the face.
The referee after observing the large gap in the points stopped the match after five seconds into the second half.
Similarly, the lone woman boxer, Tandin Lhamo, also exited the competition after losing to China’s Yuan Chang in the second preliminary round of the women’s fly (48kg-51kg) category.
Despite an aggressive approach taken by the 20-year-old, Tandin Lhamo found herself in the midst of some quick and powerful jabs from the Chinese.
The apparent physical and technical difference between the two athletes led the referee to stop the fight with 1:31 seconds left in the second round.
Coach Penden Dorji said that his boxer missed on several counter openings. “He could not perform to the best of his abilities. This could be because of the new place and less international fight exposure,” he said.
The coach said that although the players had almost seven months of practice before the games, it was all based in Thimphu. “Our players need more training and international exposure to contest competently in big competitions,” he said. “Exposure games are important if we need to perform better in future.”
Meanwhile, with three boxers eliminated yesterday and three more on August 25, only one boxer remains in the competition for team Bhutan.
Nima Dorji is the last Bhutanese athlete who will compete against Pakistan’s Naqeebullah in the men’s bantan (56kg) weight category today.
Younten Tshedup | Jakarta