Phub Zam Monger - First Judoka from Bhutan to Win a Medal

Of the five judokas that took part in the senior level’s 8th South Asian Judo Championship in Nepal, Phub Zam Monger was the lone athlete to win a medal for Bhutan.

Phub Zam Monger brings home first international judo medal. (Source:


By Nima | Kuensel


Nineteen-year-old Phub Zam Monger became the first judoka from Bhutan to win a medal in the international judo competition. She bagged a bronze in the women’s 48kg category last week in Nepal.

Of the five judokas that took part in the senior level’s 8th South Asian Judo Championship in Nepal, Phub Zam Monger was the lone athlete to win a medal for Bhutan.

Phub Zam Monger, a class XII student of Pelkhil high school played against three other judokas from Nepal and Pakistan. She defeated a player from Nepal in the first match but lost her second match to an opponent from Pakistan.


Source: Bhutan Judo Association


In her race for the bronze medal, she defeated another player from Nepal to win the country’s first senior-level bronze on April 21.

Phub Zam Monger on what needs to be improved

Phub Zam Monger said she was excited. “I have to work harder and train hard to achieve better results.”

She added that her stamina and fitness level were on par with the international judokas. “It was techniques and hand power that we lag,” she said. “We expect better results in future competitions.”

There were eight judokas competing in the 48kg category from India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Two male judokas from Bhutan won fifth place in the 60 and 81kg categories respectively. However, the remaining two judokas finished last in the 66 and 73kg categories.

The five-member team led by the Bhutan Judo Association (BJA) took part in the championship, which saw 102 players for the first time.

The association currently run by volunteers took part in one international competition before taking part in the 8th South Asian championship. The 9th edition will be held in Bangladesh.

History of the establishment of Judo in Bhutan

Originating from Japan, the sport is believed to be more than a century old. However, it is a fairly new sport in Bhutan.

Started in the country as a Judo club in 2010 by Pelkhil School, most of the players in the association are below 20 years. BJA got affiliated with the Bhutan Olympic Committee in 2015.

The Kodokan Judo Institute in Japan, All Japan Judo Federation and the Bhutan Olympic committee support the association.

The BJA President, Karma L Dorji said that the association has no other judo clubs to compete with in the country.

“Without any good opposition, it was impossible to improve our skills. The only alternative was to go abroad and compete in international tournaments.”

Challenges faced by the Bhutan Judo Association

He however, said that it was expensive to participate in such competitions.

The officials said that it was difficult to organise grassroots programme owing to the huge expenditure on judo mats and attire.

Karma L Dorji said that it would take about five years for the association to have a good number of coaches to be placed in clubs and in different parts of the country.

“The development of judo must be slow and measured if the quality is to remain high,” he said.


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the new Bhutan Times.


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