First Ever Paralympics Day Held In Bhutan To Remove Social Stigma Towards People With Disabilities


With the motto, “Come out and play”, the committee also planned to eliminate social stigma towards people with disabilities through sports.

(Source: Facebook/Bhutan Olympic Committee)


By Chimi Dema Kuensel

The first ever Paralympics Day to celebrate sports for people with disabilities was held in Thimphu on 26 April. Her Royal Highness Princess Euphelma Choden Wangchuck graced the event.

Various unique sporting events held

A total of 300 participants, comprising 160 impaired from the Draktsho Vocational and Training Center for Special Children and Youth, Ability Bhutan Society, Disabled Person’s Association of

Bhutan, Changangkha school for special children and 140 abled body from Yancheng phug Higher Secondary School and Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School participated in the event.

The founder and director of Draktsho, Rigzin Padma Tsogyal, said that disability is apparently a new issue in the country.


Photo: Facebook/Bhutan Olympic Committee


“This is the reason why our people including policymakers, politicians and the community are unaware of the Paralympics movement and the sports for disabled.”

She said that organising such event opens opportunities in sports for people living with all types of disabilities such as: the mentally retarded children, physically handicapped and intellectually challenged youths.

“It enables them to showcase their talents and receive recognition. It is time for our people to come forward and change their attitude and stop stigmatising people with disabilities,” she added.

Unique sports including sitting volleyball, boccia, badminton, unified relay race, football and gun shooting game were opened for the wheelchair users, the visually impaired and physically handicapped participants.

A wheelchair fun race for guests and parents was also organised to promote understanding and encourage empathy, support and recognition for wheelchair users’ rights and dignity.

The Bhutan Paralympics Committee organised the event to promote and advocate the Paralympics movement in the country.

The committee said that they intended to make sports fully accessible to people living with impairments.


Photo: Facebook/Bhutan Olympic Committee 


“It is to provide a platform for our differently-abled youth to learn and participate in the different sports like today. Also, to get the community, the government, the federations and all the able-bodied children to play sports in an integrated manner,” said Sonam Karma Tshering, the Interim Secretary General of Bhutan Paralympics Committee.

Removing social stigma of people living with disabilities through sports

With the motto, “Come out and play”, the committee also planned to eliminate social stigma towards people with disabilities through sports.

“There is a tacit stigma attached to disability in Bhutan. With the help of our media partners, we want to advocate the Paralympics movement and bring down those barriers so that our disabled youth, our disabled participants will no longer hide inside their homes but come out and play,” said Sonam Karma Tshering.

“It’s very difficult for the visually impaired and wheelchair users to get such opportunities in Bhutan, since we don’t have the facilities. But today, our policymakers, politicians and the community will know that the sports for disabled do exist,” Sanga Dorji, one of the participants, said. 

Photo: Kuensel 

As part of the event, Her Royal Highness Princess Euphelma Choden Wangchuck also awarded recognition certificates to the medalists of the Special Olympics held in Abu Dhabi this year.

A founder of the SEISA group of companies, Yasuo Miyazawa, was also awarded the recognition certificate as an honorary advisor to the President of the, His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck.

The company has so far contributed sports equipment and scholarships to the athletes of the Bhutan Olympic Committee.


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.


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