Olympic gold winning gymnast Margarita Mamun has said she wishes to visit her paternal homeland of Bangladesh in October or November this year, in what would be her first visit to the country after the death of her father.
Born in Russia to a Russian mother and Bangladeshi father, Margarita, 21, was declared the all-round winner in rhythmic gymnastics at the Rio Olympics 2016. Her gold winning performance also set a new Olympic record score of 76.483.
However, only six days after her triumph, she received the tragic news that her father, Abdullah Al Mamun, had passed away in Moscow. The 52-year-old marine engineer had long been struggling with stomach cancer.
“I have now decided that I need to go there and visit my dad’s family. This will be my first visit to them after his demise,” Margarita told Gulf News.
[caption id="attachment_12612" align="alignnone" width="1024"]
Margarita Mamun with her father Abdullah Al Mamun, younger brother Philip, and mother Anna Screengrab from an Ekattor TV programme
The Russian-Bangladeshi gymnast frequently visited her father’s country of birth in her childhood, but the visits trickled to a stop upon her selection for the national team.
Regarding her father’s death, Margarita said: “At first, it looked too cruel to me. My dad had always been with me, and he could cherish what I had accomplished for a mere six days. It has taken me some time to get used to this thought. Time is a great healer and one day perhaps I will understand the greater plan in store.”
Margarita was introduced to the sport by her mother, Anna, who is herself a former rhythmic gymnast. Anna met and married Abdullah when he had come to Russia on a scholarship from his village of Kashimpur in Rajshahi.
Due to her dual citizenship, Margarita could have competed for either Bangladesh or Russia, opting for the latter as there were limited opportunities to pursue the sport in the former. She did indeed represent Bangladesh in international gymnastics competitions in her earlier years.
Margarita first rose to world No 1 in 2013, before dropping down a place in 2014 and 2015. She reclaimed her spot at the pinnacle of rhythmic gymnastics in 2016.