BAF holds meeting with stakeholders
The Bangladesh Athletic Federation (BAF) yesterday employed a novel initiative to revitalise the country's athletics, which is virtually on life-support, as they exchanged views with current athletes, coaches, organisers and journalists.
Although a few of the fastest men in the South Asian region have come from here, it is now a distant dream for Bangladesh to win a gold medal in the track and field event in the South Asian Games. The return of only two bronze medals in the SA Games in India was evident of the poor condition in the country, with the last executive committee failing to hold the national championships regularly.
With the aim to change the scenario, the recently-instated ad-hoc committee have already prepared a yearly calendar with the inclusion of zonal meets at the divisional level. The higher-ups have also taken opinions from coaches and athletes.
"We want the training round the year without any interruption and this type of training can be arranged inside and outside the country," opined the country's fastest man, Mezbah Ahmed.
"We hear that a lot of things are being done, but we do not see the implementation of those promises," said Shirin Akter, the fastest woman in the country. "If the federation gave athletes enough time before holding trials, I think we would be better prepared to show our best."
Coach Abdullah Hel Kafi thanked the federation for the yearly calendar as he would not be able to adequately prepare the athletes before participating in any national meet.
"Most of the athletes don't show their interest to train over the uncertainty of the national championship, but now they will be more interested to train," said BKSP coach Kafi. "The federation should run a talent hunt programme across the country and then provide long-term training with better facilities. If the federation manages sponsors for individual athletes, then it will encourage them to do better at international and national levels."
Bangladesh Army coach Rafiqul Islam suggested improving the standard of coaches, who are one of major architects in developing athletics.
"We need to hold the coaching courses to create new coaches as well as hold coaches' refresher courses so that existing coaches can learn new techniques and methods," said Rafiq, who has been coaching athletes for 23 years.
BAF general secretary advocate Abdur Rokib said that he had noted every points from the meeting and would consider them in discussions with the executive committee.
“For the first time, we are going to provide prize money to medal winners," said Rokib. "You will see our activities within one month, although we have already started our calendar through the Independence Day Marathon."