No shooting, not much expectation from Commonwealth Games

Speakers at the press conference regarding the upcoming Commonwealth Games. Photo: STAR

All eight medals Bangladesh have earned in the history of the Commonwealth Games have come from shooting, but the exclusion of the discipline from the upcoming Birmingham edition has put Bangladesh into a soul-searching mode.

A 50-member Bangladesh contingent is set to take part in the 22nd edition multi-disciplinary extravaganza, scheduled to be held from July 28 to August 8 in England. 

The Bangladesh contingent will depart in phases for Birmingham from July 20 to take part in seven disciplines -- athletics, boxing, gymnastics, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling and table tennis -- but the organisers are not expecting much regarding medals.

"The chances of winning medals in Birmingham reduced a bit due to the exclusion of shooting and archery, but we are hopeful that the athletes will deliver their best in the world stage and bring laurels for the nation," Bangladesh Olympic Association's secretary general Syed Shahed Reza told reporters at an official press conference at BOA auditorium on Sunday.

During the last Games held in Gold Coast, Australia in 2018, Shooter Abdullah Hel Baki and Shakil Ahmed won a silver medal each in their respective events while the rest of the athletes returned home empty handed.

"We have a good possibility to produce better results than the last edition because we have a good sprinter [England-based sprinter Imranur Rahman] who has been doing well. The table tennis team has also produced good results at international level in recent past while boxers are also performing well. We are expecting something better in other individual events as gymnast Ali Kader is expected to reach the final eight in his events," said BOA vice-president and Bangladesh Gymnastics Federation's president Bashir Ahmed Mamun.

Replying to a query, Shahed Reza said, "50 years into the independence, we don't have any intention to send athletes into Games as token participation, instead we want results. But we lack long-term training and financial ability. I am not disappointed, though, since we have improved in the past eight to 10 years as two of our athletes have qualified for the Olympics directly."

After the Commonwealth Games, a mega 84-member Bangladesh contingent will take part in the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games, to be held in Turkey from August 9 to 18.

Bangladesh will participate in 11 disciplines -- athletics, archery, fencing, gymnastics, handball, karate, shooting, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling -- with the expectation of good results from archery, athletics and gymnastics.

Bangladesh won one gold, one silver and one bronze medal in the last edition of Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2017. Shooters Baki and Syeda Atkia Hasan won gold in 10m air rifle mixed event while shooter Rabbi Hasan Munna and wrestler Shirin Sultana won silver and bronze medal in their respective events.


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