Bhutan’s Pelden Dorji, 35, won gold in the masters A-category title at recent Asian Enduro series organised in Nagarkot hills of Kathmandu, Nepal.
Pelden Dorji had taken part in the championship individually before.
Completing the series of eight stages, Pelden Dorji finished the race in 28 minutes 53 seconds. He was ranked seventh overall. There were 134 riders from 20 countries.
He said the sport is at a budding stage currently. “The authorities need to support the sport like any other sports. We need Bike Park and a pump track for young riders to hone their skills, and a cycling federation to help riders participate internationally.”
One of the youngest riders, Tandin Wang Ghaley, 14, secured fifth position in the Under-18 category.
Thimphu Mountain Biking Club (TMBC) took part in the event to give young and capable riders an opportunity to gain exposure and experience.
A clubs’ member, Jigme Thinly, said the sport is played at a recreation level currently. “The clubs’ aim is to take the sport to competition level. We expect our young riders to be in Asian games.”
Today, there are more than 20 riders in TMBC. The club organises local race to make the sports popular.
TMBC’s Binesh Thapa, 18, finished 11th in the elite men category. The series was his first.
Seven Bhutanese riders took part in the series. The club spent close to Nu 200,000.
“It was a new experience. It was tough and challenging. However, I achieved expected the result,” Binesh Thapa. “I see a big chance when I return in the near future.”
TMBC intends to host such a series in the country.
“It was also an opportunity for some us to learn how the event is organised. The organisers and participants suggested hosting the event in Bhutan,” Jigme Thinly said.
Asian Enduro is one of the popular mountain biking series held in Nepal.
According to Bhutan Olympic Committee’s regulation to form new federation or association for a sport, there should be a minimum of four established clubs.
“We are organizing several local races to make the sport popular,” said a club official.
The club was formed by a group of biking enthusiasts from the capital in 2016.