Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bhutan’s National Sport

Archery is Bhutan’s national sport. But, unlike the typical Archery sport, this one is played more in a communal fashion, something similar to soccer and is played with a lot of fervor by the Bhutanese men. The game is so popular in Bhutan that people take leave from school, college and/or work to participate in this sport.

Team mates cheering their team during an archery competion in Thimphu, Bhutan
Like soccer, there are 2 teams. Each team has about 5-6 members and the structure of the archery field is like the soccer field but only about 150m in length. At either end are target boards at which the archer needs to aim his arrows. Each archer gets 3 chances. If he misses, his team mates shout and gesture as to where the target is and how far his arrow was. This helps them correct their aim for the next arrow.

Archery - the national sport of Bhutan
If he hits, then the entire team dances around the target. This is a traditional dance to signify that the target has been hit. For each zone of the target, there are points awarded to the team. For the maximum points, one needs to hit the bull’s eye. The team with the most points win. This sport is like soccer, but with the addition of some local traditions and dances. If you wish to watch a live archery match, either head to the archery stadium in Thimphu or plan to visit Bhutan in spring when archery competitions are held all over the country.

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