This interview was published in the June Issue of Sports Tribune magazine
Martin Frederick was born in East Germany and played for the national team but the game, archery, was not supported by the government during his time. He started coaching a professional club in 1988 in Berlin from where he guided an archer to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He also guided some archers in the subsequent editions of the world’s biggest tournament. Frederick joined the Germany archery team as national coach for the Juniors in 2000 before becoming the country’s full-time head coach in 2005. He continued the job till 2010. He then joined as Chile archery team head coach and spent seven years there. A new door was opened for Bangladesh archery when Frederick penned a five-year long contract to become the national archery head coach back in February, 2018. This interview was taken on June 22, 2019.
How much has the Bangladesh archers improved since your appointment over the last one year?
I think it’s visible because nearly all national records were broken in the last one year. I needed to improve the points, technical parts, the form, adjustment in equipments, training and competition planning. All that kinds of stuffs were important. In the past, very few competitions were held. I made a good competition plan. Archers having competition in nearly every month is important. Now the players do know exactly what they have to do before going for a World Championship.
What was the first thing you focused on when you took the job?
Planning and planning. Planning is so important that I still struggled with that because not all areas what you work with concern only about tomorrow. I have plan for tomorrow, for one year and also for three years, which is very important. If you don’t do that you don’t know the way.
What are the prospects of Bangladesh archers in future?
One goal we could manage so far – the Olympic quota place. I thought we had only invitation places (wild card) in the past. We had to earn our Olympic place by ourselves, by our own power and [Mohammad] Ruman [Shana] did it very well. Hopefully in future I want to qualify as a team to the Olympics. We have more presentation in the international circuit in the upcoming World Cup in Berlin to be internationally visible. In the continent, we want to be one of the top countries to knock the top of the world. Recurve men team are doing very strong at the moment. The other categories – recurve women, compound men and women, you have to work also to continue to improve.
Why is Bangladesh recruve team doing better than the compound team?
We have five-six boys with very good level. In compound, there were really less score and less people one year ago. Now we build it to the top and it needs to be stable. When I came, the recurve team were the most improved group, so I made them better. The other categories were comparatively down, so I also had to make them better and it was visible. But we need time.
What are the key reasons behind Ruman’s individual success?
Ruman is a very good talent. Talent is not the only thing, you also need to be hard worker. Like when I say to him, now you can finish the training session, sometimes Ruman say I want to practice more. It’s good to see your archer say, coach let’s train for half an hour more. He is also having a very good form, good goal, he knows what he wants to do which is very important.
What does Ruman need to do to keep up the form until the Tokyo Olympics?
We had more participation in international competitions since my presence here. He expected to have good results in the competition and also he had to have good experience. You have to participate in lots of competition and make a clear strategy to know what is important. We need more competition, more experience, more fighting, more winning, may be sometimes losing to learn. Now everybody knows Bangladesh is coming, they have to take care.
You were part of Ruman’s success at the World Championship, watching him from close distance. How difficult it was actually?
We had Kim Woojin who is world record holder, world champion and Olympic gold medalist, and Ruman beat him. We had Sjef van den Berg from the Netherlands who is No 4 from last Olympics, very strong archer but Ruman managed him very well until he got the bronze medal match. It was very important moment because around 2,000 people were watching, you have two targets and two single persons in the stage. It was nervous moment but Ruman managed very good, he was in more fighting mood than being nervous.
What was your message to Ruman before he faced top-ranked archers like Woojin, Van den Berg and Mauro Nespoli?
We were very clear. We can win against everybody. Hey, we can shoot 10, we have to keep focus and we have to keep it strong with good timing, good offensive acting and execute all our strategy. Ruman did everything very well.
Do the other archers have the chance to qualify for the Olympics?
Yes, possible. There are three more individual places in the Asian Championship but it’s not possible for men’s division because there will be only one man allowed from one country. It’s already done. For women’s division, we now have to give good focus. Other categories have distance from recurve men. I have to give focus on recurve women’s division to fight for the places possible. And for June next year, team will have the chance to qualify. Three more teams from the world so there is chance for men’s team again. Now we have distance to the qualification but we can reduce the distance during the next year.
What is the target you want to set for Ruman in the Olympics?
I had a world champion from Chile in 2011, a girl, and all journalists said she would automatically do the same in the 2012 Olympics. But it was not true. Every competition is new, you start new every time because the level is so tight at the top of the world. Of course, we will try to do our best to go to the quarter-finals or semi-finals again. It’s possible and we saw it in the World Championship but still there is one year, so we also have to work out and prepare as good we can. Until now, medal is a dream. I will not say, a medal, no, for me quarter-final would be very nice and be among top eight.