Gangtok, 23 Feb:
The 19th edition of Chief Minister’s Gold Cup Archery Tournament [Compound] got underway here at Tenzing Namgyal Memorial Ground Archery Shooting Range in Tathangchen today with 23 teams in the hunt for the top honors.
Sports & Youth Affairs Minister, Kunga Nima Lepcha, declared the tournament, being organized by Sikkim Archery Association [SAA], open.
Teams from across Sikkim, the neighboring hills and Bhutan are participating in the prestigious traditional form of archery tournament.
The tournament has 14 teams from Sikkim, two from the neighbouring hills and seven from Bhutan.
This is also the first event organized by the newly-elected executive committee of the SAA led by Sonam Dorjee Bhutia as president.
The inaugural match was played between Penden Cement of Bhutan and Red Bull, Gangtok, in which the former out-shot the latter 38-18.
On Monday, TAC Namchi will take on Garuda, Gangtok.
Speaking to media persons, the Minister, who is also the chief patron of the association, congratulated Sikkim Archery Association for working to preserve and promote traditional archery.
He shared that archery was a traditional and popular sport of Sikkim and urged the new committee at SAA to take promote traditional and modern archery equally and provide a wider platform to local archers.
While observing that Sikkim has huge potential in archery even at the international level, he assured that the State government would extend full support to take local archers to national and international level.
He mentioned that Chief Minister PS Tamang [Golay] has extended full support to make this tournament an annual event of the State.
“The CM has prioritized sports to provide opportunity and exposure and the best of facilities and infrastructure to local sportspersons,” he said.
“The intention of the government is also to preserve and promote the traditional sport of archery and put Sikkim on the world archery map,” Mr Lepcha said.
SAA publicity secretary, Karma Denzongpa, in turn mentioned that the main objective behind the tournament was to preserve and promote the traditional form of archery.
“We want to encourage the younger generation to come to traditional archery to take it forward. We also want to encourage youths in games and sports to keep them away from unhealthy and unproductive activities,” he said.
SAA was formed in the year 1985 and conducts talent hunts, organizes coaching camps and provides exposure to Sikkim archers.
On behalf of the association and the archery fraternity, SAA joint secretary, Sangay Gyatso Bhutia expressed his gratitude towards the CM for supporting the association in its efforts to preserve the traditional sport of Sikkim.
He also thanked the Sports & Youth Affairs Minister for supporting the 19th edition of the tournament. He also thanked Sikkim State Cooperative Bank and others individuals and organizations for supporting the tournament. He also invited the people to come and support their favorite teams in the tournament.
Yangtse Tours & Travels from Bhutan is the defending champion of the tournament. The tournament carries a Rs 2 lakh prize money for the winners and Rs 1 lakh for the runners-up.