16-year-old holds key for archery
It hasn't been very long that Bangladesh entered the realm of archery, but they have produced some quality archers who have claimed gold in international competitions so far. However, when it comes to events such as the Olympics, Asian Games and South Asian Games, they have failed to shine.
After grabbing gold in the individual recurve bow event in the Youth Olympic Qualification in Indonesia, Emdadul Haque Milon failed to shine in either the 2010 SA Games in Dhaka or the 2012 Olympics in London. Roman Sana, who was champion in 70m recurve bow in the first Asian Grand Prix in 2014, followed his teammate and was eliminated from the early stages of the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea.
Ahead of the 12th Asian Games, scheduled to begin on February 5 in India, the focus has shifted to young Tamimul Islam. While Emdadul is soul-searching at the international level and Roman has been ruled out with a muscle injury, Bangladesh hopes lie with the 16-year-old who won gold in recurve bow in the 5th Youth Commonwealth Games last September.
"I know everyone has high expectations of me and I am hopeful I can produce something good if I can translate my performances in training into the national stage," said the BKSP student, while reminding that he had only competed in the 60m recurve bow last year, while he will have to compete in the 70m version this time.
Only time will tell whether Tamimul can outdo his predecessors by brining the first gold from archery in the SA Games, an event in which Bangladesh have won two silver and four bronze over the past two editions.
However, the experienced Emdadul is more positive as the focus will finally be off him and he expects the lighter burden to help him shine, seven years on from his gold in Indonesia.
"I had to perform with a lot of pressure in big tournaments, but this time I hope to make my dream come true," said Emdadul, who last won a silver medal at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Indonesia in 2013.
The archery outfit comprises 16 archers -- eight men and eight women -- who have been training since May last year under the guidance of Korean coach Kim Hang Yongs, Indian coach Nishith Das and local coach Sajjad Hossain. They will compete in all 10 events of both recurve bow and compound events.
"This time, we are not pressuring the archers. Instead we are encouraging them to play their natural game. If they do that, success will follow," said gold medalist archer-turned-coach Sajjad.
However, Nishith is a bit of worried about the cold climate and freezing winds in Shillong, where the archery event will take place.
"We have two formidable opponents -- the top-class Indian archers and the conditions in Shillong. Plus we are not getting any practice sessions in Shillong unlike Sri Lanka and Nepal, so I am not satisfied with the preparations," said the 12-year veteran of Bangladesh archery.