Female archer Karma has become the first athlete from Bhutan to qualify an Olympic quota place in any sport. She has won a recurve women’s archery spot for Tokyo 2020 during the Asian continental qualification tournament in Bangkok on Friday.
The 31st seed in the quota tournament, she defeated Rand Saad Al Mashhadani and Niloofar Alipoor, both 6-2, and then Waraporn Phutdee, 6-4.
Karma trailed Malaysia’s Nur Aliya Ghapar, 5-3, after four sets quarterfinal. Ghapar shot a four in the fifth, allowing the Bhutanese 29-year-old to level the match and force a shoot-off. Karma delivered the first arrow of the tiebreak, an X10. Ten points, shot fast in gusting wind. It was too good for her Malaysian opponent, who shot a nine. Karma had won.
“It’s the first time for Bhutan to compete in a quarterfinal so I feel very happy and very lucky to shoot,” said 29-year old Karma. “I feel my dream comes true. Before, it was a wildcard entry for me. Now I can compete with others, thank you so much.”
Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009 and has taken part in more than a dozen international competitions, winning medals for the country. She made her international debut in 2012 at the London Olympics.
The country has competed in every Olympic archery, the country’s national game, since Los Angeles in 1984, a year after king formed Bhutan Olympic Committee, but always received universality invitations. Karma had one of these free tickets for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Universality invitations are awarded to smaller or developing sporting nations to ensure diversity at the Games.With the number of universality tickets being reduced from three per gender at Rio 2016 to two at Tokyo 2020, there was no certainty that Bhutan would continue to receive a free quota.