Air Pistol Shooting in Bhutan
“I saw the sport on television. I did not know that it would be an interesting experience. It helps us improve breathing and concentration. While building pellets pyramid, it helps improve our hand and eye coordination."
Located at the extreme left of the Changlimithang stadium, the Bhutan Shooting Federation has more than eight shooting ranges. In an enclosed room, a 10-metre air pistol shooting competition is going on.
Tshewang Tenzin, 17, is readying for the shoot. On the table is an air pistol, match pellets, paper targets, and carrier devices.
Tshewang Tenzin picks up the pistol. He takes a long breath, rubs his eye and aims at the target. He fires ten pellets. And then, ten more.
“Shooting was good. I could not give my best, though,” says Tshewang Tenzin, who is from Mongar. He joined the coaching with a friend.
“While looking for work to do I keep myself engaged with such activities. I feel it’s important to keep myself away from the unhealthy practices,” says Tshewang Tenzin.
He scores 173 out of 200 and is the third highest shooter at the competition.
Air pistol shooting gaining popularity amongst youth
Coach Dawa Lham said: “We don’t give shooters any benefits. They receive some allowances while representing the country in the international games. The sport is becoming popular now.”
More than 30 students are taking part in the competition organised by the federation. Coaching which began on January 1.
Tandin Wangchuk from Zilukha has the highest score, 193 out of 200, followed by Sherab Chophel Dorji and Kuenga Tandin with 180 points each.
In the girls’ category, Jetsun Dema Dorji scores the highest – 180, followed by Jigme Droelkar with 174 and Tshundu Lham 156.
Xzin Syangbow 14 from Samtse is in the competition for the first time. Coaching gave him an opportunity to spend time with his parents during winter vacation, says the fourteen-year-old.
How air pistol can benefit youths
“I saw the sport on television. I did not know that it would be an interesting experience. It helps us improve breathing and concentration. While building pellets pyramid, it helps improve our hand and eye coordination. Without concentration, we could hardly complete the task assigned during the coaching.”
The federation organises coaching and competition every year to promote the sport. The federation also selects student athletes to undergo daily after school training and practices.
Today, there are around eight student shooters and six senior shooters with the federation.
By Nima (This article has been edited for the New Bhutan Times)