The much awaited artificial football turf is now ready and was officially inaugurated on the 10th of May, 2017. The ground was inaugurated by HRH Prince Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Gyaltshab and Azhi Yeatso Lhamo.
The ground was inaugurated in a traditional marchang ceremony, singing of His Majesty’s Zhabtoen and offering of Thrisur by Venerable Lam Neten of Mongar Rabdey where officials from Bhutan Olympic Committee were also present besides officials and public under Mongar Dzongkhag.
During the opening, an exhibition match between senior citizens and officials from the Dzongkhag played against Gyalpoizhing veteran team with a goalless draw. In the first match, Gyalpoizhing Central School girls played against Mongar HSS girls’ team. Mongar lost to Gyalpoizhing with the final score of 1:0 after the 20th minute whistle. The second match kicked off between the young football enthusiasts of Mongar and Gyelpoizhing with both the teams scoring 3 goals each after playing for exactly 40 minutes.
“Quality sports facilities are the foundation for the development of a vibrant value based sporting culture in Bhutan. They are a crucial prerequisite for the successful integration of sports and society. We hope that with the opening of the new astro turf grounds in Gyalpoizhing, all football enthusiasts from eastern part of Bhutan will have access to a world-class football field and lead to the promotion of the game in the nation” said Sonam Karma Tshering, Secretary General of the Bhutan Olympic Committee.
Local in Gyalpoizhing said they only saw the turf on the national TV when they broadcast the World Cup qualifying matches. “Besides football, the ground will be good to host big events like regional sports meet and even bigger national events,” said a Gyalpoizhing town resident.
Dzongkhag sports coordinator Tandin said that with help from Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), the artificial turf will benefit not only the youth residing in the dzongkhag but also to neighboring Dzongkhags like Bumthang, Lhuentse, Trashigang and TrashiYangtse.
Football coach Dawa Gyeltshen added that the Bhutan Football Federation will conduct annual dzongkhag level football competition, inter departmental football competition and inter- school football competitions at Gyalpoizhing. He said dzongkhags could produce good footballers as they could improve their techniques, gain experience, and develop technical abilities, since the turf provides superior athlete safety, high performance and extreme durability.
Initial work on the turf began from November 2015 with an initial estimated budget of Nu. 17 million funded by government of India under its project-tied assistant programme.