• Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019
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Yearender: Other Sports 2018

  • Published at 10:26 pm December 30th, 2018
Shooting
Bangladesh shooter Shakil Ahmed Dhaka Tribune/Shishir Hoque

A look-back at the year gone by in the other sports of Bangladesh

The Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games took place this year as the top athletes from their respective sports were busy getting ready for some of the biggest events after the Olympics. 

With that said, the athletes from the majority of the disciplines couldn’t perform upto the mark yet again. 

Abdullah Hel Baki and Shakil Ahmed earned the country some glory in April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast. 

Bangladesh shooting won a medal in the pistol event for the first time in this millennium through the hands of Shakil when the young Bangladesh Army shooter claimed silver in the 50m air pistol, while former BKSP shooter Baki retained silver in the prestigious 10m air rifle event. 

Umme Zakia Sultana was close to winning a medal, but finished fourth in the women’s 10m air rifle event.

None of the shooters however, were able to change Bangladesh’s fate in September’s Asian Games in Indonesia. 

Kabaddi also failed to bring a medal for the first time in 28 years as Bangladesh’s contingent of 14 disciplines returned home empty-handed. 

There was beach volleyball where the two-member amateur Bangladesh team ended their campaign disappointingly. 

The national volleyball team had some notable achievements this year thanks to captain Harsit Biswas and Co for bringing the game into the limelight after a while. 

They reached the semi-final in their first appearance at the Asian Volleyball Challenge Cup but finished runners-up in the Bangabandhu Asian Central Zone International Championship at home. 

Hockey can take some credit for claiming a place among the top six in the Asiad, despite around only two-and-a-half months of preparation, while the youth hockey team made a surprising feat by beating Canada at the Youth Olympics in Argentina. 

The top-flight premier division league couldn’t avoid controversy after the title-deciding match between Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited and Mariners ended at the halfway stage due to clashes between the officials and players of the two clubs. 

The federation announced Mohammedan as the champion after five months and handed long bans to the top officials of the clubs. 

Traditional hockey outfit, Usha Krira Chakra were demoted to the first division. 

The women’s hockey league and national women’s team activities also took place for the first time after many inactive years.

The country’s prominent golfer Siddikur Rahman went through another year without winning any Asian Tour title, but the two-time winner went very close in the India Open before missing out on top place by a single shot. 

Siddikur however, won the Dhaka Open early this year but it was his compatriot Zamal Hossain Molla who outran him to secure fourth place in the country’s most prestigious and only Asian Tour event, the Bangladesh Open. 

It was a special year for the country’s youngest Fide Master, Mohammad Fahad Rahman, who achieved his first International Master norm during the Chess Olympiad in Georgia where he was the top Bangladeshi performer, along with Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman. 

Ziaur was the top performer at home and abroad among the five GMs. 

Ziaur began the year finishing as the runners-up in the Delhi Open before winning the national chess title after four years for a record 14 times, whilst also lifting the premier league chess title for big-spending Saif Sporting Club. 

Among the youth, Warsia Khusbu won gold medal in the U-6 age group of the Asian Youth Chess Championship in Thailand where young prodigy Manon Reja Neer bagged silver in the U-8 age category. 

Manon also claimed gold in the U-8 category of the Commonwealth Chess Championship in New Delhi. 

Swimming and athletics results were not satisfactory at the Asiad as usual, and yet, there were no changes in the federation’s regular activities. 

The national swimming championship was not held this year either. 

In the national athletics, Mezbah Ahmed’s six-year dominance as the country’s fastest man came to an end, but Shirin Akter retained her crown as the queen of the track. 

Bangladesh hosted two international archery tournaments this year, and emerged as the champion in both events. 

In badminton, the youth offered some hope in two international events at the end of the year but the senior shuttlers disappointed. 

Judo won two silvers and a bronze at the South Asian Judo Championship in Nepal, while taekwondo bagged two silvers and as many bronzes at the South Asian Taekwondo Championship in the same country. 

Karate also clinched medals in two international events in South Africa and Indonesia.

Sports like gymnastics has long been deprived by a lack of tournaments, sponsorships and infrastructural facilities, and one of the reasons is that it can’t set all its apparatus properly at the National Sports Council gymnasium where it has to share the same floor, along with other indoor games like judo, karate, taekwondo and martial arts, among others. 

But this year offered some hope to gymnastics as its youth team participated in their first-ever international gymnastic tournament abroad in Indonesia. 

Young gymnast Wohaimong Marma secured bronze for the first time in the Singapore Open, while the women’s gymnastics team took part in an international tournament for the first time in South Africa, followed by two gymnasts’ first Russian tour at the end of the year.

The year saw an increase of female athletes’ participation at different national and international events, and they also won medals there, but a rape accusation against a weightlifting federation’s office staff moved the sports scenario. 

Voices demanding justice, as well as ensuring a safer environment for female athletes were raised. 

Two boxers Al Amin and Robin Mia failed to participate in the Commonwealth Games, despite being in the Gold Coast, raised questions regarding the responsibility of the federation officials.

The 2016 South Asian Games gold-medalist Mabia Akter Shimanta blasted the weightlifting federation for not getting enough support prior to the Asian Games, and it was the same for Smriti Akter, who provided the federation something to talk about following the rape case by winning silvers in the ISSF International Solidarity Championship in Egypt this month. 

Meanwhile, the first-ever Bangladesh Youth Games offered hope to the young athletes across the country in the first half of the year, but a lack of regular training and playing opportunities couldn’t ensure their growth afterwards. 

More such youth tournaments in an organised way need to be held every year in order to improve the low-graph performance of the national athletes in major international events.