Bangladesh women's gymnastics team will participate in an international tournament abroad after eight years as a three-member squad have been finalised to play at the Africa Safari International 2018 in artistic gymnastics in South Africa, likely to be held in September.
Bangladesh female gymnasts last took part in an international event at home at the Sultana Kamal 4th Central South Asian Games in Dhaka in 2001 where Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian female gymnast ever to qualify for the Olympics, was one of the participants. Bangladesh's Anita, Sathi, Mushfiqa and Farzana Akter earned Bangladesh team runners-up title while India finished champion.
Bangladesh Gymnastics Federation general secretary Ahmedur Rahman Bablu, who competed in the 1978 Commonwealth Games, said there was little difference between Dipa and the female Bangladesh gymnasts. "Dipa was given continuous training facilities by the Indian government to reach the Olympics, and they also have job opportunities for the female gymnasts but we have none and as a result, all of our gymnasts retired after a few days."
Bablu also informed that interest in gymnastics among the female athletes started to decrease in the 1990s after women's gymnastics started its journey in Bangladesh in 1974. Two Bangladesh gymnasts won bronze medals at the Saarc gymnastics competition in Allahabad in 1998, and one of them was Sharmin Sultana Sumi, who is considered one of the best female Bangladesh gymnasts in history.
A female gymnastics team crossed the border last time during the Indo-Bangla Games in Kolkata in 2010 where Sathi Akter Mishu won a couple of bronzes in floor exercise and vaulting table event.
This time around, BKSP trio Noor Akter Banu, Nargis Nahar and Shanta Islam will represent the country, and they will be accompanied by BKSP gymnastics coach Marjina Akter Rubi.