Indecision over events & disciplines
The logo and mascot of the inaugural Bangladesh Youth (U-17) Games were unveiled through a colourful ceremony three weeks ago, but preparations is going at a snail's pace with only four weeks left for the start the games.
Even though the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) has fixed dates for the start of the games at district and divisional levels as well as the final phase, most of the districts are yet to start their training camps due to the uncertainty over the number of disciplines each district would be required to host as well as no clear picture about the events they are going to take part.
“We will start training camps after a divisional meeting which will be held on November 22. Besides, we don't know how many disciplines we can host and participate. We have showed our interest to stage 16 disciplines,” Rangpur DSA secretary Anwarul Islam said yesterday.
“It would be better for us if we know the events so that we can start training for different disciplines,” said Islam, adding that his district comprises of eight upazilas and none of those upazilas have started training.
However, Jhalakathi district is a bit ahead as its Sadar Upazila has started training in football and volleyball and waiting for the final approval from BOA to start training in individual disciplines.
“Sadar upazilla has started training already, but the training has been halted for the last two days due to rain,” Jhalakathi DSA secretary Al Mamun Khan said. “However, three other upazilas are yet to start training because they have not formed squads yet.”
Khan informed that the upazila sports association will form their squads after scrutinising athletes from different educational institutes.
Ashiqur Rahman Miku, BOA's deputy secretary general and member secretary of steering committee of the games, however said that they have already had a meeting with 40 districts in presence of divisional commissioners and district commissioners to make the event a success.
“We have already prepared a road map for the games,” Miku said. “We will sit with the officials of the national federations tomorrow [Saturday] to decide the events of 21 disciplines out of which six are team sports.”
All 64 districts except Patuakhali have responded positively for participating. Chittagong is on the top of the list to host 19 disciplines out of 21 followed by Narail, who expressed their desire to host 17 disciplines. However, the BOA is likely to award each district a maximum of 10 disciplines and thus shrink the opportunity for athletes to participate.
“It is yet to be decided how many disciplines will be allowed for each district, but each district must host a minimum of five disciplines. As some districts showed interest to host more than 10 disciplines, we will perform a feasibility study on whether there are enough technical personnel to conduct all disciplines within a seven-day period and then decide about awarding the disciplines,” explained Miku.
Miku also believes there are some athletes ready to take part in the games at district level as National Sports Council conducted a talent hunt programme for under-16 level last year.