Men's football and kabaddi disciplines have been included in the final selection of the Asian Games 2018 along with athletics, weightlifting and a surprise inclusion of one-man rowing team for the first time in history, while women's football and handball were excluded from the previous preliminary list.
An executive committee meeting of the Bangladesh Olympic Association took place Saturday after which it was also revealed that a contingent of around 144 members including 114 athletes and the officials from 14 disciplines will be traveling to Indonesia for Asia's mega multi-disciplines event, scheduled to be held in August-September.
The 14 selected disciplines are – men's football (20 members), men's and women’s kabaddi (24), athletics (two), archery (12), golf (six), beach volleyball (two), shooting (18), hockey (16), bridge (four), wrestling (three), swimming (two), weightlifting (one), basketball (four) and rowing (one). Bangladesh didn't send athletics team in the last edition in Korea but this time around, one male and female athlete will form the two-member team excluding the coach.
The sudden inclusion of one-member rowing team raised curiosity. BOA's deputy secretary general Asaduzzaman Kohinoor told Dhaka Tribune, "Rowing federation secretary requested to the BOA president to give the game a chance. They are to choose only one candidate for the event. He also gave assurance of bringing medal for the country from this discipline."
Bangladesh Rowing Federation's general secretary Haji Mohammad Khorshed Alam informed Dhaka Tribune that they will take part in the men's single sculls event in lightweight category. He added, "Despite the country being the land of rivers and nouka baich being its traditional rowing sports, the game of rowing has always been neglected here. We took part in two editions of Asian Rowing Championship in China (2013) and Thailand (2017) but never participated in Asian Games before. But Bangladesh rowing team has every potential to prosper in international event."
Khorshed, the veteran sports organiser who founded Bangladesh Nouka Baich Samity in 1972, also hinted that Aminul Islam Mithu of Barisal Rowing Club is likely to represent the one-man team. Mithu was one of the three-member rowing team which participated in the World Coastal Rowing in France two months ago, including coach Shafiqul Islam.
Meanwhile, women’s football was included in the primary selection in late December but the decision to omit the men’s national kabaddi and Olympic (U-23) football team was criticised. Bangladesh Football Federation asked the BOA to include the men's football team if they have to choose one among the men's and women's team. Bangladesh men's Olympic football team have been taking part in every edition of the Asian Games since 2002 while men’s kabaddi team participated in every edition of the Asian Games, since the inclusion of kabaddi in the Games in 1990.