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Tug of War: Demonstration in Bhutan
The education team struggle against the IMTRAT team

The only sport where the winner moves backwards -the tug-of-war- is better known among the Bhutanese as a fun sport that is usually held at the conclusion of a sports meet or a fete day.
But it is more than pulling the rope for fun says the president of the tug-of war federation of India, Mr. Gautam Kaul who was in the Thimphu to demonstrate the technique and rules of the sport.

Tug of War: Olympic sport

"It is a sport played across the globe and in the Olympics. The Indians have been playing it since the 6th century and the Egyptians much before," said Mr. Kaul. "It is a sport that needs technique, it has specific rules that are revised and re-revised."

According to Mr. Kaul, 56 other countries have federations with the Tug-of-war International Federation based at Holland.

He said the sport has been played against clubs of different countries and not country against country. It was re-introduced in the Olympics in 2000. "All that is required is a 150 feet ground space and a 180 metres long rope and heavy weighing people," said Mr. Kaul who added that tug-of war competitions are held in the region and worldwide. There are plans to start a competition among the SAARC countries.

The demonstration on the technique and rule of the sport at the Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School assembly ground was attended by the education minister Lyonpo Thinley Gyamtsho, the Indian ambassador K.S. Jasrotia, officials from the department of youth culture and sports and teachers from across the schools in Thimphu.

The sport requires technique in holding the rope, in positioning the knees, and in applying the strength and a game can be won in nine seconds. The longest match lasted 19 minutes in 1981 during one of the tournaments in India, Mr. Kaul said. The joint director of the department of youth culture and sports, Karma Wangchuk, said that a federation will not be formed immediately but the sport will be encouraged among the schools if the students are interested. "It is a sport existing in Bhutan for a long time but it had always been for fun," he said.

Contributed by Kuensel, Bhutan's National Newspaper


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