It was yet another routine year for Bangladesh in the majority of sporting events, with the exception of football, hockey and cricket. The year 2016 saw Bangladesh athletes participate in two major multi-discipline international tournaments - Rio Olympics and South Asian Games - but there was hardly any notable achievement.
To begin with hockey, the scenario in Bangladesh had some positive outcomes throughout the year. Bangladesh youngsters exhibited eye-catching displays in the under-18 Asia Cup Hockey in September where they reached the final for the first time in history. They beat favourites India for the first time as well, in the first match of the tournament, but lost against the same opponent in tie-breaker in the grand finale.
The senior team also gave a great account of their strength in depth, clinching their third straight title in the Asian Hockey Federation Cup in Hong Kong in November, romping to the title with a hundred percent record.
The domestic hockey scenario also had some positive happenings. At the beginning of the year, the players' transfer window rolled again after a three-year hiatus. Abahani Limited and Mohammedan Sporting Club took part in the Club Cup Hockey where the Sky Blues regained the title beating Usha Krira Chakra in the final. Mariner Young's Club emerged as the champion in the most prestigious Premier Division Hockey League for the first time in 27 years. Foreign umpires were brought in to officiate in both the tournaments.
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Ace Bangladesh golfer Siddikur Rahman takes a selfie alongside the other members of the 2016 Rio Olympics contingent prior to their departure to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil DHAKA TRIBUNE
Seven athletes participated in the Rio Olympics but it was iconic golfer Siddikur Rahman who attracted all the limelight from the beginning, becoming the first ever Bangladeshi to qualify directly for the biggest sporting show on earth.
Siddikur however, failed to perform upto expectations among the top golfers of the world as he finished his campaign third from bottom out of 60 participants, scoring an overall 11-over-par 295. It was Siddikur's maiden appearance in the Olympics.
Sadly, the 32-year old golfer didn't enjoy the best of years in 2016. He had no major achievements taking part in 18 tournaments, except winning the BTI Open Golf title in Dhaka.
Among other participants, archer Shyamoli Roy finished 53rd out of 64 participants in the recurve bow event’s ranking round, scoring 600 points. She failed to qualify for the round of 32. Shooter Abdullah Hel Baki registered Bangladesh’s best performance in the country’s brief Olympics history when he scored 621.2 points to take 25th spot in the 10-metre air-rifle event.
Swimmer Mahfizur Rahman Sagor recorded his personal best timing but still finished 54th among 85 participants in the heat of the men’s 50m freestyle event while Sonia Akter Tumpa ended 69th out of 88 participants and was eliminated from the heats. Bangladesh's fastest man and woman, Mezbah Ahmed and Shirin Akter, were placed fourth and fifth respectively in the heat of the men's and women's 100m event.
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Weightlifter Mabia Akter Shimanta (L) and swimmer Mahfuza Khatun Shila pose with their gold medals in the 2016 South Asian Games in India COURTESY
Despite poor results overall, Bangladesh had a few memorable moments to cherish from the 2016 SA Games, held in Shillong and Guwahati in India, and for Mabia Akter Shimanta and Mahfuza Khatun Shila, it was something special.
Weightlifter Mabia earned her country their first gold medal in the event and also became the first Bangladesh female weightlifter to win gold. She claimed top spot in the women's 63-kilogrammes weightlifting event. Later, Shila garnered more attention when she claimed two gold medals. She won gold in the women's 50m and 100m breaststroke events.
Shooter Baki failed to perform upto expectations and couldn't bring home any gold but his compatriot Shakil Ahmed bagged Bangladesh's fourth gold in the 10m air-rifle event.
Bangladesh won a total of 75 medals, including only four golds, 15 silvers and 56 bronzes. They won 18 gold medals in the previous edition. Mezbah and Shirin failed to rise to the top but at the end of the year, they became the fastest man and woman of the country respectively in the National Athletics Championship.
Along with cycling, volleyball was another event where Bangladesh failed to win any medal but at the end of the year in late December, Bangladesh volleyball team made history by winning their first ever international tournament - Bangabandhu Asian Senior Men's Central Zone International Volleyball Championship.
The third edition of the Kabaddi World Cup took place in India this year where Bangladesh narrowly crashed out of the tournament. Bangladesh beat England, Australia and Argentina but lost to hosts India and South Korea.