21st Jul 2013                              just five days after Rtd Dasho Col. Rinzin opened the 17th Yangphel Open Archery Tournament 2013 with traditional ‘marchang’ ceremony, much has happened. The tournament opened simultaneously across nine regional venues of Bhutan on the 16th Jul 2013. In one of the opening matches, led by the chief guest Rtd. Col. Dasho Rinzin, the team ‘Karma Yarkay’ overcame their much younger opponents. Karma Yarkay has the some of the most senior players of the tournament, averaging age of 70 years. The opening match led by our elder (and their win) heralded auspicious beginning for the tournament.


The auspicious beginning marked start of higher-powered performance! A 12 karey total by an individual used to be novelty in earlier tournaments but since Tashi Dorji of Vajra in Thimphu and Tshering Needrup of Jampeling Const. in Gelegphu hit 12 kareys in the opening matches – the highest that opening day, it has become usual to have at least one, if not several to make that total and more.yangphel-opening-2013


Then three days later, Jigme Norbu – the individual with highest average in last year’s tournament, playing this year for ‘Druk Shopping Complex’ hit 16 kareys in 15 rounds – the highest one day score of an individual in the ongoing tournament. The closest to total is 14 kareys by Tashi Chojay of Zhongarling United in Monggar.


In fact, Tashi Chojay leads all the 1600 tournament participants as of now, with his 30 kareys in 45 rounds/ 3 matches. As of now, he is one of the top 15 archers who will partake in ‘Best of Bhutan’ shootout for title of ‘Best Archer’ in Thimphu (scheduled for Sun Aug 18) But going by last year’s performance, which showed that those individuals with 32 kareys and above were part of top 15, he may not make it to shootout. But still he will travel to Thimphu during that time, because his team Zhongaling United is one of the two teams that has qualified for knockout stage in Thimphu (scheduled to begin Aug 13). The other qualifying team of Monggar is Druk Yoesel.


Yes, after the 5th day, the league in Monggar is decided and their two teams of Zhongarling United and Druk Yoesel is going to be two of the 72 teams playing knockout in Thimphu. Only 72 out of 267 teams that is participating in this year’s tournament will play knockout and by Aug 31, the 3 best teams would be found.


And yes, some teams are already edging their way to the finals. Like for example ‘Druk Shopping Complex’ (who has Jigme Norbu but is supplemented by Dechen Tshering) has made 48 kareys in a single match – the highest of so far. But Vajra of Thimphu has hit 45 kareys in their first match and Zhongarling United of Monggar has 44 kareys. But Zhongarling as of now has the highest league (3 match) total of 118 kareys. Is the east going to beat the west this time? The time ahead – another 40 days of the tournament will only tell. And going by what has happened till the fifth day, it will only mount.


And also because last year’s team champion ‘Pelden Group of Co’  and 2011 champion ‘Phoja’ are yet to play. Pelden Group would be playing on Jul 28, Aug 1 and Aug 11 and the reigning team champion still has their star player and last year’s Best Archer Tshewang Dorji. And ‘Phoja’ led by HRH Prince Jigyel Wangchuck has Sonam Lhagyel and Kezang Jigme. Their performance in August should also be massive.

DATES, VENUES & CHANGES! (Thimphu League & new Gelegphu)

26th June 2013          the Yangphel Archery Committee has not only announced the starting date of the tournament to be July 16 with finals scheduled for Aug 31, but also have given out tentative dates for the various stages as below. The shootout between the top 15 archers, which has been dubbed as ‘Best of Bhutan shootout is scheduled for Sun Aug 18 while there would be ‘pchani’ shootout between the 2013 seeded archers on Sat Aug 17.


The organizers hope to have the elimination stage start by Aug 10 at the Changlimithang ranges. By then Changlimthang ranges would already have held the Thimphu league stages. This is one of the changes of this year’s tournament. Due to popular demand and on the reasoning that other participants of other regions get to play at their home ranges while Thimphu does not, the league venue has been changed to Changlimithang from Babesa bachos. The same Thimphu league organizer Gup Kanjur will conduct the stage.dates


With such change in Thimphu league venue, it is expected that the Thimphu would have some of the strongest teams participating given that most top archers would find it comfortable to play in Changlimithang.


One other change in venue is that of Tsirang, which is now being moved to Gelegphu. Due to popular demand from the region, Tsirang organizer have moved the venue to Gelegphu but feels that he would conduct in both of the venues, if there are enough teams.


All other venues remain the same, but there has been change in the organizers like that of Paro and Trongsa. But there is bound to be change in performance for better, going by past performance.


25th May 2013        the 2012 Best Archer of the Yangphel Open Archery Tournament is Tshewang Dorji (of team ‘Pelden Group of Co.’), but he does not have the highest average performance of the tournament! Instead Jigme Norbu of Blue Poppy has the highest average of hitting 14.8 kareys (hits) in 15 rounds. Tshewang Dorji has the second highest of 12.4 kareys (in 15 rounds/ 30 arrows). It still is higher than averages of some teams. This is according to new system of seeding that organizing committee of Yangphel tournament has begun for first time starting this year.


Till last year, in order to seed the archers, the total kareys that individual hit during the league was taken into consideration. While it was uniform for all, some good archers could be left out of the seeded list despite their high performance. One could miss out a match during the league and then play very well during the advanced stages i.e. knockout, semi finals and the final. And even though this individual would have performed at highest level, having missed one of the league matches kept him out of the seeded list. Now taking out average of each and every matches an individual played during a tournament would avoid that. And so, would also include only those matches (even if lesser than 3 league matches) while taking out the average. In this way, the seeding is expected to be more accurate interpretation of an archer’s skill.

In all, not only does it (taking out average) give clearer picture of the skill and therefore worth of an archer, but also show collective potentials. Now for the first time, national individual average is shown, which is 4.4. kareys in 15 rounds (30 arrows), which is only 15% of the time. The highest average performance of Jigme Norbu of 14.8 kareys in 15 rounds/ 30 arrows suggests he hits 50% of the time. (Best Archer Tshewang Dorji hit 41% of the time with his 12.4 average while Nidup Dorji of Tsirang with third best average hit 39% with his 11.7 average; Talop Namgay, the three time past champion hit 11.6 kareys on average)


In terms of the team, nationally, a team hits 21 kareys in match of 15 rounds, in which a team gets 150 arrows to shoot, which is again 15% of the time. The 2012 Champion Pelden Group of Co. has the highest team average of of 46.9 kareys, suggesting that they hit 33% of the time in 15 rounds of 150 arrows. A team from Trongsa has average as low as 6.3 kareys in the tournament.


Regionally, Paro has the highest team average (i.e average of all teams from a single region) of 28.1 average and lowest of 18.5 by Trongsa teams.


Not only such data points to overall performance of the Bhutanese archers, but also with the new system of seeding, it is expected to provide better competition (and more level playing field) since only a seed archer is allowed per team and so there is lesser chance of having too many highly skilled archers in a same team. Not many of the highly skilled archer could be missed from the seeded list. The overall average performance published over the website would also help gauge the performance of each individual (so their worth) while building a team.


All those with average of more than 7 kareys (but excluding 7 kareys) have been included in the seeded list. There are 162 seeded players for the year 2013.






2nd Sept 2012      it was after team ‘Pelden Group of Companies’ completed their 7th straight win today that they became the 2012 Team Champions and received their prizes from Her Royal Highness Princess Dechen Yangzom Wangchuck, who graced the final match of the 16th Yangphel Open Archery Tournament as Chief Guest.


Her Royal Highness also presented prizes and certificates to Team Champion Runners Up – the team Yul-Gyel – the surprise finalist and 2nd Runners Up team ‘Dragon Roots’ from Phuentsholing.


From among the team champions – the Pelden Group, there was also the individual champion Tshewang Dorji (also known as ‘ST’) who took away prize of Nu. 200, 000/- that came along with 2012 Best Archer title. His team mate Tshetrim Phuntsho was the 2nd runners up to the Best Archer (with cash prize of Nu. 15, 000/-) while Best Archer Runners Up title with Nu. 50, 000/- was taken by Jigme Norbu of Blue Poppy Tours. Pelden Group’s Tshering Gyeltshen and last year’s Best Archer took the ‘Finals Most Valuable Player’ with total of 32 kareys in 3 final matches (quarter, semi & today’s final). He also received the prize for creating record one day score last year, with 20 kareys in 20 rounds.


It was deserving win for Pelden Group, not only because of their prior performance in the in this year’s tournament, ranking top in the league, hitting highest 50 kareys in the knockout stage and never having to go into penalty shootout to win a match but also because in today’s final they hit 54 kareys – the highest of the present total. The semi finalists Gyelyong Gaki is the only team in the tournament that saw 260 teams that matched the total. Pelden Group is also 2012 team champions.


Pelden Group won with 2 game sets, one that was completed in the 4th round and the other that was completed in the 9th round.  Till the start of the 14th round, everyone expected Pelden Group to win but see penalty shootout between Dragon Roots and Yul-Gyel. But Yul-Gyell shattered everyone’s hope of seeing an intense shootout when Yul-Gyel completed one game set in the 14th round.  Yul-Gyel hit 39 kareys while Dragon Roots hit 36.


Pelden Group’s win seemed no surprise and most had not decided between two runners up anyway. And all of them are winners anyway, since they are the top three teams from among the 260 teams of different regions of our country. The Best of Bhutan!


Along with prizes for the tournament, there was also giveaway prize distribution that was given away by Ashi Sonam Wangmo. A total of 25 prizes were given out on free raffle while one was held to curb littering at the Changlimithang range. The winning lot number would be announced in Bhutan Observer issue of 7th Sept. 2012.


26th Aug 2012     everyone today at Thimphu Changlimithang range expected either Gyelyong Gaki or Druk Lhayul to win the last semi final match of the 16th Yangphel Open Archery Tournament. But it was not to be, as Phuentsholing’s Dragon Roots quietly completed two game sets against none of Druk Lhayul and one of Gyelyong Gaki to be one of the finalists of 2012 tournament.  


Today’s semi final was one of the most competitive matches of the tournament, as the 3 teams matched each other karey for karey. It was only in the 8th round that first game set of the match was completed by Dragon Roots. At the end of this 8th round, each of them had hit equal 18 kareys. In fact the total karey at the end of the match remains to be 38 of Gyelyong Gaki, 37 of Dragon Roots and 35 of Druk Lhayul Const. It was in the last round, that Dragon Roots completed their 2nd game set with 3 bull’s eye hit, one sa-karey and one karey. In this last round, team in yellow – the Druk Lhayul was rooted on by the spectators since they were only one without any game set, Gyelyong Gaki had completed one game set in the 11th round. Everyone was hoping for penalty shootout between all of the team, but Dragon Root’s five hits made it unnecessary for any of them to have extra shots. Dragon Roots, who had been discounted even before the start of match, won to play finals on Sep 2.


On Sep 2, Dragon Roots would be joined by winners of yesterday’s (Aug 26) semi final matches – Pelden Group of Co. from the lower bacho and Yul-Gyel from the upper bacho. From the upper bacho, last year’s finalists Sonam Automobiles was expected to overcome Yul-Gyel and Ice Berg by many, yet Thimphu Phaka’s Yul-Gyel quietly completed two game sets in 4th and 8th round which could not be matched. Sonam Auto did glean one in the 11th round.  


It was quiet victory for Yul-Gyel as the general attention was taken by the competition continuing at the lower bacho. And there, it looked like another underdog would win as ‘Snow Lion in Style’ kept the stronger Pelden Group of Co. on their toes till the very last round.  Snow Lion had the best chance to equalize the 3rd game set of Pelden Group in the last two rounds.  Snow Lion had completed the their first game set in first round itself which was matched in the 4th round and overtaken in the 5th round by Pelden Group. The two game sets of Pelden Group were then matched by Snow Lion in the 7th round. Pelden again overtook Snow Lion in the 10th round with their 3rd game set.


The 3rd game set of Pelden Group would have been matched by Snow Lion if not for Ata Boning that kept Snow Lion from completing their third game set crucially in the 14th and 15th round. In these last two rounds, Pelden Group could hit only one karey each, while Snow Lion hit 2 and 3 kareys in each, which were quite enough to complete their 3rd game set since they already had 5 points (2 points shy of a game set) from the 13th round. But Ata Boning players particularly Kinley Dorji hit not miss in these two rounds, matching Snow Lion’s karey and even making a point in the last round. Ata Boning kept Snow Lion in check and taking away the need to have penalty shootout and deciding the match in Pelden Group’s favour. Even though Ata Boning did not complete any game set, they did decide the match. Snow Lion gave tremendous performance and was worthy opponent to Pelden Group. Their seeded player Kinley Tshering made crucial hits, taking Snow Lion to nearer to their 3rd game set but it was not enough. Snow Lion hit as many as Pelden Group with 38 kareys. It was but the Ata Boning factor that kept them away from 2012 finals.


Ata Boning had come almost unnoticed till the stage, when their defeat drew the biggest attention. Now would other underdogs draw attention during the final? Yul-Gyel had almost been unheard of and Dragon Roots (though the best team from Phuentsholing) had been discounted against Gyelyong Gaki and Druk Lhayul Const. yet they are now the finalists. Pelden Group would have to watch out for them, for they may have been underestimated, they are not weak. After all they have become two of the three best teams of 2012 from among 26o that started off the tournament. They could become the best. Like today, the year does seem to favour the underdogs. The Sept 2nd final will show.

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