Only three divisional cities have the infrastructural facilities to hold the divisional round of the Bangladesh Youth Games 2018 while the remaining five divisions have to share the venues from the nearest districts as the first ever national youth games is all set to begin Monday. The Youth Games will come to an end Saturday.
A total of 3473 athletes will take part in the second round of the country's largest youth multi-nation sports event. The athletes came through the first round which was held in 64 districts with the participation of around 23,000 athletes from 19 disciplines, representing their respective upazilas, held from December 18 to 24 last year.
The Divisional Sports Associations of Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet managed to confirm to the Bangladesh Olympic Association that they have the required infrastructure to organise all 11 disciplines within the divisional cities while the events in the remaining five divisions had to be decentralised and will instead be held in a total of 16 districts, including the respective divisional cities.
Rajshahi DSA chose five other districts to hold all their events in Bogra, Joypurhat, Natore and Pabna; Khulna’s events will also be held in Narail, Bagerhat, Jhinaidah, Satkhira and Kushtia; and Barisal's events will be held in Barguna, Bhola, Pirojpur and Jhalkathi. Rangpur will only use the infrastructure of Dinajpur while the new division of Mymensingh will hold their games in Sherpur.
There will be no event from seven disciplines - hockey, archery, shooting, basketball, judo, wushu and taekwondo - due to insufficient number of district teams. These events will be held directly in the final round in March. Sylhet and Mymensingh couldn't find any district hockey or basketball team or any athlete for judo and wushu. These two divisions, along with Chittagong failed to find any archer, shooter, or a basketball team from the opening round. Dhaka, Rangpur and Barisal have no wushu player to represent in the divisional round.
The highest number of athletes will compete in the capital city in 11 disciplines - football, kabaddi, handball, volleyball, athletics, badminton, boxing, chess, karate, swimming and table tennis - which will be held at eight venues in Paltan, including Bangabandhu National Stadium, two in Mirpur and also in Savar, BKSP. Ten disciplines in Chittagong will be held at MA Aziz Stadium and Gymnasium, Sagorika Women's Sports Complex, Chittagong Swimming Pool, Unicef Park Pool in Pachlaish and Shishirtola's CRB. Six disciplines in Sylhet will be held in two venues - Sylhet District stadium and Abul Maal Abdul Muhith Sports Complex. Dhaka will be the first division to finish all their events within Wednesday due to boasting the best infrastructural facilities.
The first ever Bangladesh Youth Games is organised by BOA with support from the government. The 151-member organising committee is led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who also happens to be the chief patroniser of the mega event.
Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza is one of 20 renowned sports personalities who were chosen by the BOA as the Youth Games' brand ambassador and are supposed to tour different divisions to inspire the young athletes. Mashrafe said through a video message, "This event is a new milestone. Such initiative would lead the young athletes to the Olympic level in future."