Safeguarding Singye’s Archery Heritage: A Community Takes Aim

Sarpang’s Singye gewog is a place where archery isn’t just a sport; it’s a cherished tradition that has woven the community together for generations. However, as the popularity of archery has grown and the equipment has evolved, the need to ensure safety at the local archery range has become paramount.

Situated below the gewog center road in Yarpheling chiwog, the archery range has been the heart of Singye’s archery passion. While there have been no unfortunate incidents, the community is taking proactive steps to enhance safety measures for everyone involved. Safety walls are now being erected to protect spectators, passers-by, and even the occasional wandering animal.

Singye Gup Jigme emphasized the importance of these safety enhancements, stating, “Initially, bamboo and wood sufficed for safety walls because traditional bamboo bows posed minimal risk. However, with an increasing number of archers transitioning to compound bows, it has become imperative to bolster safety measures.”

The Singye archery community has rallied together, raising Nu 40,000 to acquire cement and other essential materials for the safety wall construction. Young archers are contributing their labor to ensure the project’s success.

Jigme expressed gratitude for the support received, saying, “Some archers from Gelephu, who occasionally join us in our matches, have also provided financial assistance. We understand that using the gewog budget for such initiatives isn’t feasible.”

The local food provider for the archery matches has also chipped in, pledging five to ten percent of their daily sales income to fund the construction of a canopy for the range. Furthermore, the community intends to entrust the archery range to the Singye youth group, empowering them to organize tournaments and manage funds for maintenance.

“Our objective,” Gup Jigme remarked, “is to engage our youth in preserving our traditional game, preventing their migration to urban areas.”

Singye Dorji, a 30-year-old archer, spoke about the importance of a well-maintained archery range. “I’m currently unemployed, and I spend my days honing my archery skills. If we don’t nurture our passion for this traditional game, it might fade away.”

Yet, Dorji acknowledged that not all youths share his enthusiasm for archery.

Another player, Gautam Subba, aged 44, shared his journey, saying, “I started playing archery a few years ago, and my interest has only grown since then.”

Singye’s archers are determined to keep their beloved tradition alive, fostering safety and passion in equal measure. As they continue to aim for the bullseye, they also hope to strike a chord in the hearts of the younger generation, preserving the essence of their community’s heritage.

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