However, Bhutan had its share of success as it has been able to contain the coronavirus cases so far. Bhutan sealed its border and curbed public gatherings, travel and businesses and thereafter facilitated quarantine centers. Sports activities in the country also came under scrutiny for being potential sources of spreading covid-19.
Following the first nationwide lockdown in August 2020, the government allowed sporting activities in phases where tournaments were allowed but without spectators and under strict covid protocols.
According to the CEO of Bhutan Cricket, Damber Gurung, “With support from UNICEF, we had planned for a big event at Merak and Sakteng under Trashigang District but due to the pandemic we had to postpone the program.” “In the midst of all we managed to conduct few programs and tournaments in the schools but behind the close doors.”
“We introduced intra-school tournaments instead of our calendar inter-school tournaments following the strict covid-19 protocols.”
Bhutan Cricket introduced the intra-school format following the directives from the government that disallowed any form of sports tournament as it could be potential sources of spreading covid-19.
Bhutan Cricket Development Officer, Ugyen Dorji said, “We sorted to alternatives and came up with intra-school tournament plan so that we can keep the youth engaged in cricket.” “The plan seems to work as many schools came forward to have such competition in their schools.”
All the tournaments conducted at junior level are bring played with soft balls where as the senior boys and girls are playing with the usual stitch ball. Organized under the support from Bhutan Cricket a total of 13 schools across five districts has successfully conducted intra-school tournaments and some tournaments are yet to be completed.
Bhutan Cricket is supporting the participating schools with playing equipment’s, financial assistance and other technical support.
Shengana MSS under Punakha district conducted the first intra-school tournament from May 29 to June 6, 2021. In the boys category four houses (teams) under the school, Jigme, Khesar, Namgyal and Wangchuck took part in the tournament from which Jigme house was declared the winner. In the girl’s category, Namgyal House won the category.
U-19 T10 Intra-House tournament
The cricket action in southern part of Bhutan took place at Sarpang Central School with the T10 U-19 Boys Intra-House competition. Five Houses (teams) took part in the competition where Druk Team faced Langpoche Team in the finals.
Druk team managed to score 95 runs from their 10 overs of which 51 came from Yueyong Phuntsho’s bat. In return Langpoche managed to score only 48 runs, therefore losing by 47 runs. The three day tournament that began on July 17 ended on June 20.
In the U-19 girls T10 Intra-House Tournament, team Dragon beat Babygang by 21 runs to win the competition.
Gaselo Primary School – Intra- house soft ball tournament
Phetakha Primary School – intra house soft ball competition
Yadi Central School
Inter-class competition for senior boys.
Mega Boys (Class XII Commerce) beat the Chupachubs (Class XII Arts) in the finals of the inter-class competition held at Yadi Central School.
On-going intra-schools tournaments
Tandin Wangchuk is the Press Officer for Bhutan Cricket. Played for Bhutan U19 to Senior team for a decade and previously worked as a Reporter/Copy Writer with Kuensel, the national newspaper of Bhutan.