5 JUNE (Kuensel)  13th BOC-Funakoshi Championship: The national table tennis hall resonated with the cheers of spectators last evening, when Sumit Subba, 14, and Bishal Gurung, 15, of Changangkha middle secondary school defeated their opponents Karma Tenzin, 36, and Thinley Tobgay, 30, who were double their age and size, by winning three sets in the finals of the open doubles category of the 13th BOC-Funakoshi Table Tennis championship.

Out of the five sets they played, the students won the deciding game.  In the open singles category, Namgay Dorji, 18, won by three sets by defeating Raj Kumar, 18 of Rinchen High School.

Namgay Dorji had also bagged the winning trophy of the junior single category (under 18), and Karma Tashi, 15, of Motithang HSS was the runner up.  In the beginners’ category, 10-year old Ngawang Choejor Wangdi of Rinchen Kuenphen primary school was the winner, and Dorji Rabten, 9, of Changangkha MSS was runner up.

In the sub-junior (under 15) category, Sagar Gurung, 14, of Jigme Namgyel LSS was the winner, and Rekash Pradhan, 15, of Pelkhil School, the runner up.

This championship did not have a separate category for women, because it was an open competition.  Out of the 100 participants, 10 were women, but none of them reached the finals.

Bhutan table tennis federation’s vice-president, Prem Rai, said a group of table tennis players had gone to Japan in 1994 to participate in the Asian championship, who were taken care by the Funakoshi community in Japan. “The following year, the Bhutan Olympic Committee and Funakoshi started conducting the championship, and it has been an annual event ever,” he said.

From this championship, the federation has identified five junior players to represent Bhutan in the SAARC junior table tennis championship in Shillong, Megalaya in India from June 17 to 19.  Two officials will escort the players.  The championship was organised by Bhutan table tennis federation and funded by Bhutan Olympic committee and Funakoshi (blue poppy group).

By Sonam Choden

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