Bhutanese Female Archer makes a Comeback

Sherab Zam is a former national archer with the Bhutan Archery Federation. The 35-year-old retired in 2013 to become a coach for the federation’s grassroots archery programme in the east.

Drawing the bowstring, Sherab Zam takes a deep breath. As she releases the arrow, she takes another deep breath.

Sherab Zam is a former national archer with the Bhutan Archery Federation. The 35-year-old retired in 2013 to become a coach for the federation’s grassroots archery programme in the east.

Since joining the federation in 2005, Sherab’s biggest feat came in 2012 when she was selected to participate at the London Olympics. She was the lone archer selected along with a rifle shooter to represent Bhutan at the Olympics.

As a young girl, she fancied bows and arrows. She drew her inspiration from her brothers who were into traditional archery. She would pick one of her brother’s bow and practise above her house in Damchu.

“It was not normal during those days to see a girl carrying bows and arrows,” said Sherab. “For as long as I can remember, I was always attracted to games like archery, khuru and degor.”

As a traditional archer, it was difficult for Sherab to pick up the modern form of game, the recurve archery. “Like everything else, things are always difficult at the beginning. But once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy it. And when you hit a few karays, your motivation and interest grow further.”

In a game that is still dominated by men, Sherab’s passion for the game got her into the national team. She specialised in the Olympic-style of archery for eight years and also took part in several international competitions, winning medals for the country.

Four years after retirement, Sherab is all set to make her comeback into the national competition when she takes part in the upcoming BAF (Bhutan Archery Federation) international style compound archery competition next month.

For this, the archer has been practising compound archery for the last three months. “Compound archery is new to me. It is almost like recurve archery which I’ve been practising but at the same time it is very much different in many aspects.”

Sherab said that compound archery is easier than recurve because of the use of accessories like trigger that allows steady release of the arrow, providing a better accuracy. “However, since the target is just 50 metres compared to 70 metres in recurve, the target face becomes smaller, making it difficult to score well.”

The archer has also been competing against the men’s team in some of the local compound archery tournaments. “Had it been in the past, it would have been considered unnatural to see a female competing against men,” she said. “But now with the change in time, people have become more open and encouraging especially when it comes to female participation in any kind of sports.”

Sherab said that the BAF international style compound archery competition has provided equal opportunities for both men and women alike to showcase their talent. “It would be very competitive as it is the men who have dominated in compound archery so far. But since this is a new format to all, I wish to perform as good as if not better than them.”

 

This article has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

This article first appeared on Kuensel.


Related Posts

The Perils of Dha – Bhutan’s National Game

Dha (Archery), the national sport of Bhutan is a double edged sword – while it is entertaining, it can also be...

Sep 30, 2017 05:33

Football Tournament to commemorate Birth Anniversary of His...

To commemorate the 37th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The King, the Jigme Namgyel Engineering College (JNEC) in...

Jun 05, 2017 19:51

Bhutan prepares to face Palestine

Going by the performance of the two in the last five games, Bhutan has a draw and a win against Bangladesh in AFC Asian...

Aug 24, 2017 16:25

Athletes Seek Insurance to Cover Injuries

According to him, there were incidents in the past where an athlete had to bear his own expenses for injuries suffered...

Dec 13, 2017 07:06

​Bhutan to Face China on Dec 11

Bhutan will play China for the second time in five years on Monday. The two played for the first time in the same place...

Dec 09, 2017 10:06

U-16 Cricket Team Prepares for ACC Eastern Region Cup

“Looking at the other teams in our group, I think we can win matches. We are playing against China, Singapore and...

Dec 03, 2017 08:40

Latest

News

Youth Consulted on Sustainable Development

Titled ‘Young Bhutan Network: The Spirit of Youth’, the guideline is expected to streamline the operation of networks and to strengthen the...

Dec 16, 2017 14:55

Education Ministry Working on Providing Lunch in All Schools

There are 301 schools under the school-feeding programme out of which 147 schools provide three meals a day while 154 provide lunch only.

Dec 10, 2017 10:23

Features

Impact of Regional Tourists on Bhutan’s Tourism Policy

Regional tourists, especially from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries do not have to pay the USD 200 to...

Dec 15, 2017 09:22

RENEW, Empowering the Disadvantaged

The organisation, which works towards renewing the dignity of women, addresses the issues of gender inequality through awareness, education,...

Dec 14, 2017 11:04

Sports

Athletes Seek Insurance to Cover Injuries

According to him, there were incidents in the past where an athlete had to bear his own expenses for injuries suffered in the match. “When...

Dec 13, 2017 07:06

​Bhutan to Face China on Dec 11

Bhutan will play China for the second time in five years on Monday. The two played for the first time in the same place in 2012 during the...

Dec 09, 2017 10:06

Business

Fuel Price Drop to Spur Economic Growth by 1%

“The drop in the prices will stimulate the economy by lowering the cost of transportation, resulting in a drop in prices for consumers and...

Nov 27, 2017 10:48

Ac​hieving the 100% Employment Pledge

The government has spent Nu 1.156 billions for the unemployed youths by involving them in trainings, workshops, internship opportunities for...

Nov 26, 2017 09:04

Travel

Journey to the Fascinating Royal Highland Festival in Laya

Chimi Wangmo, based in Thimphu, traversed through beautiful landscapes to witness the fascinating Royal Highland Festival in Laya.

Dec 07, 2017 09:18

Dochula Tschechu – Truly Captivating!

What makes the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival unique is that while the mask dances performed elsewhere in Bhutan are centred around religious...

Nov 24, 2017 05:19

Lifestyle

Indulge in Awesome Japanese Food in Bhutan

On our various visits to the first ramen joint in Thimphu, we have seen Japanese diners as well as Bhutanese families stopping by for a...

Dec 06, 2017 07:40

Savour a Bit of Switzerland in Bhutan

The restaurant owners are a Swiss-Bhutanese couple who hail from Bumthang, where their family owns the Swiss Guest House, Red Panda Brewery...

Dec 01, 2017 08:29

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!