Bangladesh Shooting Federation called up 62 shooters for the SA Games preliminary camp but currently around 22 shooters are practicing daily at the National Shooting Complex and the number is expected to go up after the break of Eid al-Adha
Top national shooters are focusing more on the bigger international events as well as to achieve their much talked-about target to earn a quota place for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics rather than the December’s South Asian Games in Nepal.
Bangladesh Shooting Federation called up 62 shooters for the SA Games preliminary camp but currently around 22 shooters are practicing daily at the National Shooting Complex and the number is expected to go up after the break of Eid al-Adha.
Out of total four gold medals, Bangladesh won one gold in shooting’s 50meter pistol event through the hands of Shakil Ahmed but the event has been excluded from the upcoming Games and the shooters are eying improvement at other events to bag gold elsewhere.
Apart from an international shooting competition scheduled to be held in Indonesia on latter half of this month, the top shooters like Abdullah Hel Baki and Shakil are more concentrated on the November’s 14th Asian Championships in Qatar, which offers quota places for the Tokyo Olympics.
The pistol shooters are practicing under the guidance of South Korean coach Kim Ilyoung while the rifle shooters are currently training under local coach Golam Shafiuddin Khan Shiplu who worked as assistant to former Danish rifle coach Klavs Christensen.
“The main team for the SA Games has not been decided yet. We will make a new selection after the Eid,” said Shiplu whose last event as shooter was 2016 SA Games at Guwahati. He added, “Baki and other shooters have improved their scores. We shall give a fight at SA Games as target will be to win gold medal there.”
What on shooters’ mind
Baki, the two-time Commonwealth Games silver-medalist, won a gold medal in a team event (10meter Air Rifle) at 2010 SA Games in Bangladesh but left out with a silver medal in the same team event in 2016 along with Shovon Chowdhury and Anjan Kumar Singha. Baki’s focus is now elsewhere.
“SA Games is important in Bangladesh’s perspective but I’m not thinking about it. My main focus is getting a direct qualification to the Olympics from the Asian Shooting Championship in November. Only after that I will think about the SA Games.” said Baki, who caught a fever recently.
“My average score is now 624.7 while the highest one is 627.6. Scoring around 625 can get you a final round berth in any competition. So I have a chance that allows me to dream big.” Baki added.
Syeda Atkia Hasan Disha, who won gold medal in the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku in 2017 along with Baki, couldn’t join the 2016 SA Games’ contingent due to illness. The 21-year-old rifle shooter is determined to take the chance if she gets it this time.
“My scores have improved than two years back. First I shall try to qualify for the final round, then, I may face tough challenge from India. But I’ll try my best to bring a gold medal for the country.” said Disha.
“We need more experience”
While talking to Dhaka Tribune, pistol coach Kim Il Young, who was having his lunch cooked by his own after finishing the morning training session, said, “I don’t think about SA Games, not my game. My focus is on the Olympics.”
The 65-year-old Korean informed that the shooters have improved their score from the last year but grudged about not having enough international tournaments along with the equipments and facilities comparing to some other countries do.
“At big stage, our shooters fall down by pressure and no experience. We have very few shooters like Baki and Shakil who compete in big events. We have skills but we need more experience and more being in the competitions.”
Kim informed that his top shooters are ranging around the score of 580-82 but they need to upgrade it by 5-7 points more. He continued, “But that is very difficult because improving score from 540 to 560 is easier than upgrading it from 577 to 582. You need extra motivation and dedication to take it further.”