Only seven teams will be eligible to compete in the compound women’s event as the qualification round of the 20th Asian Archery Championship begins at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Sunday morning after the country's biggest ever archery event was inaugurated Saturday.
It requires three members to form a compound women's team but only seven out of 33 participating countries sent their squads which have at least three women compound archers while, following the same equation, only 10 teams will be eligible to take part in the compound men’s events.
Bangladesh women finished seventh in the tournament's last edition but despite the reduction of teams this time around, head coach Ziaul Haque doesn't want to raise his hope due to the strength of the remaining six teams. When queried if Bangladesh have a chance of attaining a medal in that event, Ziaul said, "Bangladesh's prospect will be clearer after seeing the score of the qualification round."
Bangladesh women's compound team, which won silver in the Asian Cup, consist of Susmita Banik, Roksana Akter, Bonna Akter and Bipasa Akter and they have to face India, South Korea, Iran, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan in the CW event. Except Hong Kong, the other five teams finished above Bangladesh in 2015.
A total of 281 participants, including 166 male and 115 female archers will be participating in the qualification round following which the scores of the participants will determine who will face whom in the elimination round starting from Monday.
Eight teams - Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Indonesia, Lebanon, Sri Lanka and Yemen - do not have a single woman archer in the team while Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have no male participant. Four teams - Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Singapore - have only one female archer in their contingent.
In the qualification round starting Sunday morning, 87 archers from 28 countries will compete in the recurve men’s event, 64 athletes from 23 countries in the recurve women’s competition, 50 archers from 19 countries in the compound men’s event while 34 participants from 14 nations will play in the compound women’s event.
Commonwealth Youth Games gold medalist Tamimul Islam will be the first Bangladesh archer to take his bow and arrow in the recurve men's qualification round, followed by Rezowan Ibrahi, Hakim Ahmed and Ruman Shana. Shapla, Beauty Ray, Nasrin Akter and Rabeya Khatun will compete in the recurve women’s qualification round. Abul Kashem Mamun, Mohammad Nazmul Huda, Mohammad Milon Molla and Ehsan Ahmed will try their luck in the compound men’s competition.
South Korean archers, who grabbed six golds out of 10 in the last edition, will be firmly in focus as they have two Olympics gold medalists in the 16-member squad, including the 29-year old recurve woman archer Ki Bo-bae and men's recurve team archer, the 22-year old Lee Seung-yun. Both won gold in their respective team event in the 2016 Rio Olympics while Bo-bae won gold in the recurve individual event in the 2012 London Olympics and also bronze in the same event in Rio.
Along with the opening ceremony Saturday, the BNS was filled with hundreds of archers as they enjoyed official practice session from the morning while the equipment inspection and team meetings also took place simultaneously.
A total of 35 countries were supposed to take part in the mega event but the UAE and Afghanistan later withdrew their names. Syria preliminarily entered their name but without confirming their participation, they came to Dhaka and their name was not found in the event's official list till Saturday evening.