Marzan Akter Priya saw both sides of the coin in less than 24 hours. On Tuesday morning, the 29-year-old karateka was basking in the glory of winning a gold medal in the South Asian Games.
The following morning, as Priya and her teammates warmed up in their bid for another gold medal in women’s team kumite at the Satdobato Sports Complex, fighting for a place in the final, Priya found herself collapsed on the mat following a kick to the back of her head from her Sri Lankan counterpart.
She reeled under the impact of the hit and collapsed before being rushed to a hospital a half-hour’s drive from the venue.
Fortunately, a CT Scan and X-ray showed that Priya had not sustained any severe injury or concussion,
but Bangladesh were dealt a heavy blow as they lost one of their best karatekas.
Bangladesh lost that bout and were tied at a game apiece against the Sri Lankans, who tried to exert their physical superiority by going for knock-out kicks. The last bout became a decider and Antara, who had previously won a gold and a silver, carried the weight of the team on her shoulders, beat her opponent by 4-1 points to clinch the final berth.
But they were up against Pakistan, arguably the best team of the competition, and without one of their gold medallists.
Still, the first two bouts of the final proved to be fiercely competitive as Antara gave Bangladesh a leveller with a 7-3 win after Pakistan had taken the upper hand with a 6-4 win in the first game. And then came the decider, which Priya was supposed to play. But instead, she was lying on a hospital bed as Naima Islam was fielded in her place. The reserve member failed to put up any resistance against the Pakistani karateka as Bangladesh had to settle for a silver medal.
However, it was a brave effort from the Bangladesh karate team as they went down fighting to earn a silver medal on a day when Bangladesh failed to add to their gold tally of four from the previous two days. There were three more bronze medals from karate events, bringing the tally from the discipline to three gold, three silver and 12 bronze medals.
Elsewhere, there was only one other silver medal that Bangladesh won yesterday, courtesy of the men’s kho kho team, while there were seven more bronze medals in wushu, one in long-jump, one in women’s kho kho and two in table tennis. These achievements took Bangladesh’s total tally to four gold, eight silver and 31 bronze medals for a total of 43 medals.
Meanwhile, Nepal, the host country, continued their dominance in the medals tally and were followed by India in second position, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in third and fourth positions respectively while Bangladesh were in fifth.