2nd Aug 2012       the temperature in Phuntsholing is being matched by the hot performances of tournament participants there!  Jigme Norbu of team ‘Blue Poppy Tours’ have set blazing league total of 46 kareys – the highest of not only the ongoing tournament but also of the tournament’s entire 16 year history. In today’s afternoon match, Jigme Norbu added 16 kareys to his earlier 30 kareys. He has hit 16, 14 and 16 in 1st, 2nd and 3rd league matches. The record till now is 45 kareys in 45 rounds set by Talop Namgay Wangchuck in 2010. It has been doused!


Jigme Norbu – ranked fourth in 2011, now leads the 1560 archers participating in this year’s tournament. With such massive contribution from Jigme, his team easily took the 6 points from their Aug 2 match opponents Semthuen Charo and Karma Workshop. Blue Poppy brought in total of 46 kareys during the match.

While the Blue Poppy’s total remains the highest of the day, the highest of league (so far) has also been set in Phuntsholing by Dragon Roots with their total of 127 kareys (40, 43, 44). They have the best average. That could very well change, when Pelden Group shoots in Paro this Sunday (Aug 5). Pelden Group has highest one match total of 54 kareys in the ongoing tournament.  But as of now, the team of Phuntsholing leads in the league total.


And Phuntsholing leads in other numbers as well. The most number of archers ranked within the top twenty are from Phuntsholing, – nine out of twenty are from Phuntsholing while other eleven are from other 9 venues. It does not lead in number of team participating, but still it had 33 teams – third highest among the regions.


Going by the happenings, tomorrows (Aug 3rd) last match of Phuntsholing’s league promises exciting finish.  While it ends in Phuntsholing tomorrow, the Punakha league ended yesterday. There are 8 teams qualifying from Punakha while there would be nine teams from Phuntsholing. They will join other teams that have qualified from different regions to battle out knockout and the finals in Thimphu Changlimithang ranges, beginning Aug 11.


With the league end in Phuntsholing, there would be matches only in Paro and Thimphu venues to end the tournament league on Aug 9. By then, we will know all of the 72 qualifying teams, including 6 wild card entrants. With such performances such as that of Jigme Norbu’s team ‘Blue Poppy’ and Dragon Roots, the other qualifying teams and individuals have to watch out for Phuntsholing teams. They are on fire!


Will the Aug 5th Paro match of Tshewang Dorji (who has the one day highest total and best average from two matches) and his team Pelden Group (that has one day highest team total and best average from two matches) equal the intensity of Phuntsholing?


26th Jul 2012        the day after Talop Namgay Wangchuk added 16 kareys to his first match total of 15 kareys, Tshewang Dorji added 15 to his 19 kareys today at Paro Tshongdue bacho during the ongoing league of the 16th Yangphel Open Archery Tournament. Two of them have the best total from two matches along with Phuntsholing’s Jigme Norbu of team Blue Poppy, with his 31 kareys. Between three of them, it is expected that record of 45 kareys in 45 league rounds would be broken this year. The record is held by the three time champion Talop Namgay Wangchuk.

As Talop was shooting in his last round on the 25th July, the teams playing in Thimphu Babesa bacho chose not to shoot their last round. It was easy choice for all of the playing members of teams Kabab, Tertons and Druk Semthuen to forego the last round, as they needed to save couple of lives. A white I20 car had slipped into the Babesa stream, near the range and two children were stuck in the car. The lady driver, who went to save them, was swept away and later rescued by people downstream. The archers rescued the children out of the car in the stream.

The Tertons came out the winner of the six points from this match (even with the last round, result would have been the same) but all were the heroes after the sacrifice and the save. They remain to be top participants of the tournament and human beings.

Taking also performance in consideration, Tshewang Dorji and Talop Namgay are heroes and top archers of the ongoing tournament. Along with them, there would be others to be among the best 15 archers of Bhutan to shoot another 15 rounds on Aug 19,  battling to be the year’s Best Archer of Bhutan.

Last year’s best archer, playing alongside with Tshewang Dorji in Pelden Group has 19 kareys only, it would take some feat for him to be among the top 15, but if anyone can, it is him. His other team mate Tsheten Phuntsho has better chance with his 25 kareys. Their team Pelden Group would be among the top contenders, having even now the top team total of 104 kareys from two matches in the tournament and the top total of Paro league. After their third match on Aug5th, they could well surpass the top team total of the ongoing tournament which is 123 kareys set by Sikkim’s Sichey Mavricks in Phuntsholing.


24th Jul 2012         the three time champion Talop Namgay Wangchuk hit 15 kareys in 15 rounds, nobody was surprised. Talop was playing for team ‘Tak Tog Kari’ Originally Talop was to play for his team ‘Druk Shopping Complex’ but he missed his first match and his team mates encouraged him to join a team that had not yet played their first match, so that he could start counting towards the grand prize and title of Best Archer. All of the individual prizes are based on league three matches, so that every one of participating archers (1560 this year) has equal opportunity.

No one was also surprised when Sikkim’s Chuing D Chanakpa added 11 kareys to his two match total of 29 kareys on Jul 23rd. Despite the insistent rain then, Chuing maintained his form and went to be the archer with top total (of 40 kareys) as of now in the present tournament. He would surely be one of the top 15 archers shooting for title of Best Archer on Aug 19. His team mate Sangay G. Bhutia also has the chance to be among them, though it is bit lesser. He could just be among them. Had his bow cable not broken on their 3rd match on Jul 23rd, he could have been comfortably in among the top. Going by last year’s cut off, he just hangs in there.

Yesterday on Jul 23, Gem Tshering of Gyelyong Gaki could add 8 kareys to his earlier 16 karey total. As of now, he had the best chance from among those who have just completed 2 matches. His team’s qualification remains certain, though they could only add 4 points to their earlier 5 points. They have hit 43 kareys in yesterday’s match and 41 in earlier. Even if they don’t qualify through points, and provided they perform at same level, they will be one of the six wild card entrants (or jokers) to progress to knockout in Changlimithang.

For the knockout itself, with end of league in Tsirang and Trashigang yesterday, six more names of 72 teams that would be playing in Thimphu Changlimithang is now known. From Tsirang, the team ‘Fosters’ and ‘Dechen Cultural Tours’ will play knockout. From Trashigang, the four teams of Dungsam United, Sonam and Ugyen Hiring, TraDzong and Kanglung Doros is coming to the national stadium Changlimithang. They would be joined in by two teams from Trongsa – the Mangdue Trophel and Tshering Chen Nga. The league in Trongsa was completed on Jul 21st

These teams and individual players like the ones aforesaid are those that have consistently given high performance. If they keep the same form, the knockout (which starts Aug 11, 2012) promises ever increasing level of performance and excitement.


20th Jul 2012        during the first five days of the league, a record was nearly broken when Tshewang Dorji of team ‘Pelden Group ‘ hit 19 kareys in 15 rounds. The record for highest one day league score (15 rounds) is 20 kareys – set by 2011 champion Tshering Gyeltshen last year and team mate of Tshewang Dorji this year. They were playing on 17th Jul in Paro – the 2nd day of the tournament. The record holder made 8 hits. Between two of them and other team mates like Tshetem Phuntsho who hit 13 that day, the team total was brought to 50 kareys, the highest of the tournament as of now.  They routed strong opponents like Druk Adventure Gears and Hotel Dam View with that total.


This 5th day end of the league also marks the 100th match of 2012 tournament, having had 2 matches played each day in 10 venues. The leagues in Bumthang and Monggar have been completed, from where there would be two teams each qualifying for the knockout stages in Thimphu Changlimithang.


From Bumthang, Ja Tshen Nay Nga and Kiblung have qualified while from Monggar, teams of Chithuen Construction and Lhendup Rinchutse Charo would be coming to Thimphu. From among the losing teams of these venues, SJNB has the best chance to qualify through ‘wild card’ given that they have total of 94 kareys.


This 5th day also marks the time when in Phuntsholing league, the Sikimmese team ‘Sichey Mavericks’ hit resounding 48 hits in their match against STCBL and ‘Kencho Tshering Const’  The Sikimmese Chuing Drj Chanakpa and Sangay Bhutia hit 14 kareys each – second highest of the day from all of the league venues.


The highest of the 5th day – 16 kareys, was made by Jigme Norbu of ‘Blue Poppy Tours’ in the morning in Phuntsholing. Jigme Norbu is one of the top archers of the tournament (and Bhutan) – ranked 4th last year.


This is just the 5th day, we still have 18 days (in some of the venues) to see what other days of the league would bring.  Going by what has come till now, the days should be full.


16 Jul 2012         the 16th Yangphel Open Archery Tournament shot off with ten ‘marchang’ ceremonies being conducted in nine different districts and ten venues. After such wine offerings to deities, the first of arrows were shot off at around 7:30 AM simultaneously all across the league venues of the tournament. (Even though it was pouring rain in Tsirang, the first of arrows from the three teams of the opening matches were shot and then the players waited for the showers to stop. It could have been bit later in Phuntsholing).


These were the opening shots of 26o matches that would be played during the league in different regions of the country. The 260 league matches is as much as the number of teams participating in this year’s tournament. If we include the knockout and the finals, a total of 297 matches would be played, engaging 1560 archers from across the country. These numbers (both in number of teams and players) makes the tournament with one of the highest participation from among the sporting event, if not the most.


A total of 72 teams would progress to knockout stages in Thimphu Changlimithang. Of these 72 teams, 66 would have qualified by having highest league points in their regions. A corresponding number of teams would qualify according to team total of the particular region (as given in the figure). The other 6 six teams would be jokers or wild card entrants, which would be the teams with top karey total from among those teams that could not qualify through points.


From knockout, then a total of 24 teams and 3 jokers would qualify for the quarters from where on, there would be nine teams that would go to semis. The three best teams would then play finals on Sept 2nd 2012.


Last year the team winner was Phoja, followed by Druk Shopping Complex and Sonam Automobiles. The individual champion, the Best Archer of the Year 2011 was then Tshering Gyeltshen.


Tshering Gyeltshen became champion from among 1512 archers from 252 teams that were in the 2011 tournament. He has more competition with more number of archers, with this year’s increase to 260 teams. The ever increasing numbers do indicate the love of Bhutanese for their national sport, in all corners of the country. The tournament is a reflection of such passion…of being truly national.

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