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Traditional archers long for designated range in Phuentshogling

Archers playing traditional archery in Phuentshogling are still waiting for a designated range. The lone archery range in the Thromde is occupied by compound bow players almost every time. Although Phuentshogling Sports Association plans to construct a range, budget constraints have hindered the efforts.

It has been more than a decade since the traditional archers in Phuentshogling have been aspiring to have a designated traditional archery range.

“I have been interested to play archery since my childhood days. But here in Phuentshogling Thromde, we do not have an archery range,” said Ugyen Wangchuk, an archer.

“I am genuinely interested in playing traditional archery. There is PSA’s archery range but we do not get to play there as it is mostly occupied by compound bow players. It is not convenient to play together. There are many of us who are interested in playing traditional archery but we do not have a place,” said Tempa Gyeltshen, another archer.

Like the players, an archery shop also looks forward to having a traditional archery range which will ultimately help boost his business.

“There are many people here who like playing traditional archery so we have a good sale but a lack of an archery range is a challenge,” said Dorji Phuntsho, a shop owner.

He added providing a designated range for traditional archery can also help preserve and promote the national sport which is a part of the country’s tradition.

The General Secretary of the Phuentshogling Sports Association said that the office has identified an area behind the Drungkhag office. The office has also reportedly obtained all the clearances to construct the range.

“We are a non-governmental organization, so we don’t get money from the government. The association is unable to construct as we also don’t have money. So, we are asking some players to help develop the range,” said Sonam Lhagyel, General Secretary.

He said that they initially planned to construct the range with a canteen so that whoever constructs and maintains the facility will have some return. According to the PSA, they also wrote to the thromde but have yet to receive a response.

“We did come forward to help build a range but we do not have any authority to run a canteen or collect fees. There are some players who are interested to build a range, run a canteen and also do all the maintenance work but we do not have the authority to give permission so it is difficult to have the supporters on board.”

On the other hand, the Phuentshogling Thrompon said that identifying an area for the facility has been difficult adding that the thromde would definitely support the cause if the office can find a place.

If developed, aside from fulfilling the wishes of these archers, PSA believes that establishing a traditional archery range will also help Phuentshogling town attract more tourists.

Kinley Dem, Phuentshogling

Edited by Phub Gyem