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What the Asian Games means to Bangladesh

  • Published at 10:48 pm August 18th, 2018
Kabaddi
Bangladesh kabaddi players react after training in Jakarta Friday Dhaka Tribune/Shishir Hoque

With Bangladesh’s football campaign already showing progress in their opening two matches, here we take a look at five other sports - kabaddi, shooting, swimming, wrestling and beach volleyball

Improving the individual scores and team performances on the same platform with the top Asian athletes and nations have occasionally been Bangladesh’s prime target in the previous editions of the Asian Games.

Every four years, for the majority of the disciplines, the teams were formed and athletes were called up to the camps, which were arranged for a short period prior to the Games. It was however, never enough, especially for the sports which require physical strength and stamina.

Once the Games finished, everything is done and dusted for the athletes. Sometimes the performances were assessed but very rarely actions were taken to upgrade the teams and athletes.

The trend might continue this time around as well but in the 14 disciplines Bangladesh will be taking part in, the athletes will get the golden opportunity to prove their worth at the big stage once again.

This time, Bangladesh Olympic Association allocated budget for the arrangement of the training camp for only a month and a half, starting on June 27 this year. But there are some sports federations who made their own arrangement to start the preparation without depending on the BOA. 

Only those sports like football, kabaddi, shooting and archery offer realistic hope of improvement.

Bangladesh’s campaign begins Sunday

With Bangladesh’s football campaign already showing progress in their opening two matches, here we take a look at five other sports - kabaddi, shooting, swimming, wrestling and beach volleyball.

Kabaddi

Both the Bangladesh men's and women's sides will compete in the event but neither of the two teams have taken part in any international competition in the last two years.

Kabaddi earned Bangladesh the highest number of medals – seven - in the Asian Games so far. This time, the women’s side aim to retain the bronze while their counterparts are targeting the same. 

However, a tough group awaits the Bangladesh men. 

The men’s kabaddi team will face a stiff challenge in their opening encounter as they take on holder and giant India at Theatre Garuda of Taman Mini in the suburbs of Jakarta, Indonesia Sunday at 9am.

The women’s team, who claimed bronze in the last two Asiads, will also play their first game at the same time and the same place but they might expect full three points against Chinese Taipei.

Shooting

Shooting has the largest contingent among the individual disciplines as 16 shooters, including Commonwealth Games silver medalists Abdullah Hel Baki and Shakil Ahmed, arrived in Palembang Tuesday. Baki aims to make it to the final (top eight) round for the first time while Shakil is eyeing an improvement on his personal score.

For the first time, Bangladesh are participating in the mixed team events, which will be held at Jakabaring Sport Centre Sunday with young promising shooters Arnab Sharar Ladif and Sayeda Atkia Hasan taking part in the qualification of 10m air-rifle mixed team events, followed by Noor Hasan Alif and Ardina Ferdous partaking in the 10m air-pistol. 

Expatriate shooter Quaysoor Miah was scheduled for trap event but he withdrew his name earlier due to unavoidable circumstances.

Swimming

Two athletes – Mahfizur Rahman Sagor and Khadiza Akter Bristy – will represent Bangladesh in swimming, with both taking the pool Sunday morning. Sagor will take part in the heat of the 200m freestyle while Bristy will participate in the 100m breaststroke event.

With insufficient preparation, both are expected to get out of the event in the heat but they are aiming to improve their personal bests. The events will be held at Aquatic Centre, GBK.

Sagor will also participate in two more events – 50m and 100m freestyle – while Bristy will also try her luck in as many events - 50m breaststroke and freestyle. The swimming pair arrived in Jakarta Friday.

Wrestling

Three wrestlers – Sherin Sultana, Mohammad Ali Amzad and Sarot Chandra Ray – landed in Jakarta Thursday. Sherin offers some hope but her event of 68kg freestyle begins Tuesday.

Ali Amzad will begin Bangladesh’s campaign in shooting. taking part in the qualification of men’s freestyle 74kg event Sunday at JCC Assembly hall.

Beach volleyball

A two-member beach volleyball team comprising Monir Hossain and Shahjahan Ali will start their games in the pool play at JSC beach Sunday. This amateur pair also played in the last edition in South Korea. The duo started training at the national camp in Cox's Bazar under coach Titu on June 27.