Bangladesh will be aiming to challenge India's supremacy when the 3rd South Asian Archery Championships get underway at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP) in Savar from tomorrow.
Of the seven nations taking part, only Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka are scheduled to take part in 10 gold medal events -- five in the recurve and the rest in compound events -- in the four-day event at the BKSP, where the inaugural edition was held in 2006.
The second edition was held in Jamshedpur in the Indian state of Jharkhand in 2008, where Bangladesh won only two bronze medals in team events.
"In the first edition in 2016, there was no hope because we were novices at archery, but this time we have improved well and won a few gold medals at international tournaments held at home and abroad.
"Under the coaching of German coach Martin Fredrick for the past month, the improvement in scoring has been remarkable and the young archers in some case outshone the senior players in practice. So we are hopeful but we can't promise a gold medal. However, we can say that we will fight for gold and the race will basically be confined to India and Bangladesh," said Bangladesh Archery Federation general secretary Kazi Razibuddin Ahmed Chapal at a press conference.
India are not only a strong competitor in world archery but they also have a long heritage of competing in archery when compared to Bangladesh, who have only began archery in the early 2000s.
Bangladesh have also not had any remarkable successes at the international level aside from in small-scale tournaments such as the Grand Prix and the Islamic Solidarity Archery Championship, whereas India won three gold, four silver and two bronze to become runners-up in the Asian Archery Championships held in Dhaka last November.
So, the hosts' hopes of winning a gold medal will be heavily dependant on whether or not India send their top archers to these Championships.
Chapal did not ascertain whether they would, but said that India never leave any room for others when it comes to archery.
Nepal and Bhutan were also ahead of Bangladesh in terms of medals in the first two editions but Bhutan are not coming this time after failing to get clearance from their government, according to Chapal.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh's dreams have gathered steam after their archers moved into the quarterfinals of five events in the Asian Archery Championships, where world powers like South Korea, India, Japan, China and Chinese Taipei were among others who took part.
63 archers, including 26 women, from four countries will check in to the BKSP from today as the lone sports institute in the country is patronising the Championship by providing accommodation and food to participants.
"Archery is a new discipline at the BKSP but the success in archery is remarkable compared to others. Match temperament and experience are important for the archers to compete in bigger level, so we think this championship will help the archers get valuable experiences," said BKSP Director General Brigadier General Samshur Rahman, adding that the national team consisted of a few BKSP archers.