Four Bhutanese para-athletes leave for China to participate in 4th Asian Para Games at Hangzhou

Thimphu [Bhutan], October 19 (ANI): Four Bhutanese para-athletes have left for China to participate in the 4th Asian Para Games at Hangzhou which will start on Sunday, The Bhutan Live reported.

The four para-athletes will take part in air rifle, recurve archery, badminton and shot put.

As many as 4,000 athletes from 43 National Paralympic Committees will compete in 566 events during the six-day event.

Chimi Dema from Monggar is one of the four athletes representing Bhutan in the multi-sport event. She will make her Asian Para Games debut in the shot put. This will be her fifth international competition. The 30-year-old made her international debut in 2019 at the Beijing Grand Prix and participated in the Dubai World Para Athletics Championship in the same year, as per The Bhutan Live.

Dema also participated in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. She won a silver medal in the shot put at the fifth Indian Open Para Athletics International Championship in Bengaluru this year.

She is currently a second-year student at the Royal Thimphu College studying sports and health sciences. She added that besides having challenges, she hopes to do better in the upcoming Games.

Chimi Dema said, ”Having to study and do training is quite a challenge for me as I can’t manage time for both sports and studies. Still, our lecturers are supportive. Moreover, I get lots of opportunities as an athlete. I got a scholarship to study and I also get opportunities to travel to different countries to participate in the para games.”Sapuna Subba, 22, from Dagana will take part in badminton. It is her third time participating in a paralympic event. She won two bronze medals in her debut at the 2021 Asian Youth Para Games in Bahrain.

She also studies sports and health sciences at the Royal Thimphu College through a scholarship.

Sapuna Subba said, ”We have to study and come for the training. Sometimes our classes get over by 3 pm to 4 pm and we get late for the training. We could train for only one to two hours. When we go back to our hostel after our training, we get tired and we cannot study. We feel sleepy.”According to the lecturers at the Royal Thimphu College, measures are put in place to encourage the athletes to represent Bhutan without affecting their studies.

”We provide extra classes for the students upon their return from sporting events. While they are away, we also put all the classes online. We have the online mode of teaching so that the students can go through the materials at their convenience to make sure that they don’t have so much to catch up when they come back,” said Saurav Chaliha, a Senior Lecturer at Royal Thimphu College.

Similarly, 28-year-old Kinley Dem from Wangdue Phodrang will be competing in para shooting. She is a full-time para-athlete and started her sporting career in 2018. She represented Bhutan in three international competitions. She made her Asian Para Games debut in 2018 in Indonesia. She recently took part in the Changwon 2023 World Shooting Para Sports World Cup.

Kinley Dem. Said: ”Compared to the event in Changwon, I have improved a lot. I can score more points now and I have gained a lot of confidence. In the Asian Para Games, I am planning to put all my full effort and play to the best of my capacity.”Likewise, 38-year-old Pema Rigsel will take part in the para recurve archery. The father of two from Thimphu took part in five international games. His last participation in an international competition was at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympics. He made his Asian Para Games debut in 2018 in Indonesia.

”I have prepared well this year for the Asian Para Games. Through experience, this year I have spent more time in training and it is benefiting me a lot,” said Pema Rigsel.

Bhutan debuted in the Asian Para Games in 2018 in Indonesia after the Bhutan Paralympic Committee was established in 2017, as per The Bhutan Live. (ANI)