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Bhutanese sportswomen aim for the top

Female participation in sport takes flight as mountain kingdom modernizes

Olympic hopeful Sonam Deki, 23, lines up a shot while training in Thimphu. (Photo by Melyn Mckay)

THIMPHU -- "In Bhutan, in the olden days, normally women were not allowed to play archery," says Sonam Deki, 23, eyeing a faraway target stuffed with straw at the Olympic archery stadium in Thimphu. "I really want to prove women can do something equivalent to men," she adds as her arrow burrows into the bullseye.

A member of Bhutan's women's junior national archery team, Sonam Deki is hoping to represent her country at the Olympic games in Tokyo in 2020. Across Bhutan, friendly archery competitions using traditional bamboo bows and arrows, with targets placed just over 145 meters from the shooters, can be seen in towns and villages almost every day of the week.

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