Mezbah Ahmed and Shirin Akter continued their sheer dominance on the athletic turf as the sprint duo retained the title of the country's fastest man and woman respectively after winning the 100m event in the concluding day of the 41st National Athletics Championship at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Sunday.
This was the fifth consecutive gold in the most prestigious event of the competition for Mezbah while for Shirin, it was her fourth title in a row. The King and Queen of the turf however, couldn't record their personal best timing with Mezbah facing a tough challenge against silver medalist Abdur Rauf.
Both Mezbah and Rauf play for Bangladesh Navy. Mezbah took 10.78s to cross the finishing line while Rauf ended second with a timing of 10.79s. Shariful Islam of Bangladesh Army finished third with 11.07s. Rauf however, won gold in the men's 200m sprint, clocking 21.9s.
It was Mezbah's seventh gold in three different competitions - four in the national championship, two in the summer meet and one in the Bangladesh Games. Mezbah said it is his experience and technique which put him ahead of Rauf in the final moments of the race.
Bangladesh Navy athlete Shirin, who also won gold in the women's 200m sprint, found it easier to beat her teammate Shohagi Akter. Shirin clocked 12.3s while Shohagi took 12.44s to complete the race. Third-placed Bangladesh Army athlete Susmita Ghosh clocked 12.63s. Shirin's best timing is 11.99s, which she recorded in last year's South Asian Games.
Along with four golds in the national championship, Shirin also have two more golds in the national summer meet. Shirin set her target for the next SA Games, saying, "I'm looking forward to the next SA Games. I want to take good preparation. I believe if I can get long-term training facilities then winning a gold in 100m is not impossible."
Meanwhile after the end of the three-day event, Bangladesh Army finished top of the medals tally with a total of 47 medals, including 15 golds, 21 bronzes and 11 silvers while Bangladesh Navy also won the same number of golds but managed fewer silvers (nine) and bronzes (eight). Bangladesh Jail were placed third with one gold, two silvers and five bronzes.