In a display of resilience and skill, our karate practitioners, Tshering Phuntsho and Passang Tobgay, clinched bronze medals at the Seventh South Asian Karate Championship in Kathmandu, Nepal. The championship, held between November 28 and December 3, witnessed spirited competition from participants across the region.
The Bhutanese contingent, comprising two athletes and two officials, returned to a warm welcome in Thimphu on December 4. Despite bowing out in the semifinals, the soldiers-turned-karatekas showcased their mettle on the mat, securing commendable third-place finishes in their respective categories.
Tshering Phuntsho faced tough competition in the Kumite senior category -60kg, ultimately settling for bronze after a 0-2 defeat against a skilled opponent from Nepal. Undeterred, Phuntsho expressed his determination to strive for gold in future championships. “I tried my best in this championship. Confidence is important in such a major tournament. I will keep training to secure gold in the future,” he affirmed.
Phuntsho’s international journey in the last two years has been marked by notable achievements. He secured silver in the under-60 kg individual senior kumite at the BG Karate Championship in Bangladesh and added a bronze medal to his collection in the Sixth South Asian Karate Championship in Sri Lanka last year. His participation in the 19th Asian Games in China further underscores his commitment to raising Bhutan’s profile on the global karate stage.
Passang Tobgay, hailing from the Royal Bhutan Police and a relatively new entrant to karate, showcased his prowess in the Kumite +84kg Senior Category. Despite a 0-3 defeat to Sri Lanka, Tobgay’s bronze medal adds to his success earlier in the year when he clinched gold in the -81kg weight category at the Indian Martial Arts Sansthan Karate Championship.
Karate coach Tshering Dorji attributes the success in the South Asian Championship to meticulous preparation. He emphasized the importance of game exposure for athletes and revealed the Bhutan Karate Association’s plans to send the senior team to Kalimpong, India, for an upcoming tournament early next year.
Both Tshering Phuntsho and Passang Tobgay symbolize Bhutan’s growing presence in the competitive world of karate. Their achievements not only bring honor to the nation but also serve as an inspiration for aspiring martial artists. As Bhutan continues to make its mark on the international stage, the future holds promise for the development of karate in the Kingdom of Happiness.