Athletics dream with Imranur
After the inception of the South Asian Games in 1984, Bangladeshi athletes had produced stellar performances in the first three editions, with Shah Alam becoming the fastest man in 1985 and 1987.
Bimal Chandra Tarafder won the 200m sprint in 1993 while Mahbub Alam became the champion in the 100m sprint in the 1995 SA Games, taking Bangladesh's tally to five golds, nine silvers and 20 bronze medals in the first 11 years of the tournament.
However, such successes in athletics were not witnessed in the last couple of decades as Bangladesh has not been able add to their gold tally for the past 32 years, even after participating in ten more Games during this period.
Accepting the liability of their decay and in hopes of bringing back the golden days, Bangladesh Athletics Federation (BAF) introduced Imranur Rahman, a London-born Bangladeshi athlete, to trial in the 100m sprint and to participate for the country at home and abroad.
He was presented before the press at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
As per BAF, even though Imran's favourite event is 60m, the 28-year-old holds a track record of 10.27 seconds in the 100m sprint, 0.01 seconds faster than the South Asian Games record set by Sri Lanka's Himasha Eashan in 2016 and 0.23 seconds faster than the latest timing of Mohammad Ismail, the current fastest sprinter in the country.
However, on his trial in the BKSP yesterday, Imran finished the 100 metres trial in 10.40 seconds (hand-timing). Both Imranur and the federation believe that the athlete can perform even better and bring glory to the country subject to regular training and grooming.
"My fitness is not at peak currently," Imranur said. "I came here to prove that I'm eligible to perform as a sprinter. With more training and conditioning, I will be ready for competitive races."
It was his love for the motherland that made the London-born Imran choose Bangladesh over England.
"Money is not the issue. I could also perform for the UK. But both my parents are from Bangladesh and I felt more connected. Hence, I decided to participate for Bangladesh," he added.
From footballers Jamal Bhuiyan and Tariq Kazi to England-born Bangladeshi swimmer Junayna Ahmed -- athletes of foreign descent have made a name for themselves representing the country over the years. Hence it would not be an audacious hope that Imran could also follow the same trajectory in future.