In a historic moment for badminton community in Bhutan, the Bhutan Badminton Federation (BBF) is set to make its first appearance at the 19th Asian Games, scheduled from September 23rd to October 8th, 2023. The BBF’s participation in the Asian Games marks a significant milestone in the nation’s sporting journey.
Mr. Anish Gurung and Mr. Jimba Sangay Lhedup, two talented Bhutanese badminton players, will proudly represent their country in the Individual Events at the Asian Games, which will take place from October 2nd to October 7th, 2023. The athletes, accompanied by Coach Sherab Gyaltshen, are set to depart from Thailand to Hangzhou, China, today.
Expressing his enthusiasm, Anish Gurung said, “I feel lucky and fortunate to have gotten this opportunity for the first time, and I will put in all the efforts to make my country proud.”
Jimba Sangay Lhedup, while sharing his feelings about the upcoming competition, said, “Firstly I feel excited because I got the opportunity to represent my country and compete on an international stage, which can be thrilling and exhilarating. Secondly, I am nervous because it’s my first time participating, and due to the high level of competition and the pressure to perform well. Thirdly, I feel pride in representing my nation and being part of a larger team of athletes from my country. Fourthly, I feel grateful for the opportunity to compete and for the support I receive from my coaches, families, and my nation.”
Coach Sherab Gyaltshen emphasized the significance of this moment, saying, “It is a first time for Bhutan Badminton Federation to participate in a large magnitude games. The pressure is definitely there. What we hope is that we give our best to each match and gain experience.”
The journey to this momentous occasion has been marked by dedicated training and hard work. For the past year, both athletes have been training rigorously at Bangkok, Thailand’s Ponsana Badminton Academy, under the guidance of Mr. Boonsak Ponsana, a legendary figure in Thai badminton. They have also participated in numerous local tournaments to hone their skills.
Expressing their gratitude, the BBF thanked Mr. Boonsak for his support, including hosting a farewell dinner for the athletes and coach and personally escorting them to the airport.
The 19th Asian Games 2022 will see Bhutan’s largest-ever contingent, with 28 athletes representing the nation across various sports. Among these, the badminton tournament is scheduled to take place from September 28th to October 7th, 2023, with Team Events from September 28th to October 1st and Individual Events from October 2nd to October 7th.
The Asian Games hold a special place in the hearts of Asian athletes due to its rich history as a multi-sport event held every four years. Notably, it features both team and individual events, with the team events using the same format as the Thomas and Uber Cup.
In the realm of badminton at the Asian Games, Bhutan will compete against formidable opponents, including badminton powerhouses like China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and more. Since the turn of the century, China and Korea have been sole winners, almost trading winners. As Bhutan steps onto the international stage at the Asian Games, the nation’s hopes and dreams are riding on the shoulders of Anish Gurung and Jimba Sangay Lhedup, who aim to make their country proud with their performances in this prestigious tournament.