She bagged gold in the women’s 300-metre event during the recent national athletics meet in Thimphu. A popular face at the middle-long distant runner, she has secured top positions at the several Thunder Dragon Marathon editions.
Besides her running abilities, Tandin Lhamo, is a familiar name at the popular Dragon Fury cycling event held in the country. She secured the first and second positions at the competition in 2016 and 2017.
However, taking her athletic abilities to the next level, the 21-year-old student from Nima high school in Thimphu became the only female boxer to have competed at three international competitions.
After winning two consecutive national level boxing competitions, Tandin was selected to compete at the 18thAsian Games in Indonesia last month.
Like most Bhutanese athletes, Tandin also finished her Asaid (Asian Games) campaign without winning a single bout. However, the class XII student displayed one of the most competitive fights for the Bhutanese boxers despite the evident physical and technical difference against her Chinese opponent.
Lean and petite, Tandin took her opponent by surprise when she started with an aggressive approach in the second preliminary round of the women’s fly (48kg-51kg) category on August 26.
“I was not scared at all. I wanted to win and I wanted it bad,” she said. “I wanted to put up a good fight for my team but it did not go as per my plan. I was disappointed.”
With a bleeding nose, the referee stopped the fight with 1:31 seconds left in the second round of the bout. “If it wasn’t for the nose bleed, I was confident going into the fight.”
Seeing the Irish mixed martial artist, Conor McGregor, as her idol, Tandin started boxing in 2015. However, she said she was interested in the sport from a young age.
“There are not many female boxers in our country today,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to have got the opportunity and support from my parents and Bhutan Olympic Committee for allowing me to pursue what I always wanted to.”
She said that her interest in marathon running and cycling compliments her passion for boxing. If given an opportunity, she said she would like to pursue boxing in future without undermining her studies.
But managing time for her passion and education is difficult. “I’m most of the time worn out with trainings and don’t get much time to study. But my parents and teachers are supportive. It keeps me going.”
She said that with each competition she is growing and improving. “Asian Games was a big opportunity for me and at the same time an important lesson that will help me improve further,” she said, adding that she would now have to work on sharpening her techniques and physical strength.
“The next plan is to prepare for the South Asian Games. At the same time I need to study for my board exams,” she said. “It would be intense but I think I can manage.”