The girl from Nilphamari aims for Olympic medal
Teenage archer Diya Siddique is considered to be the third potential athlete -- after Ruman Sana and shooter Abdullah Hel Baki -- to bring success for Bangladesh in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the 17-year-old archer has recently hogged the limelight by bagging a silver medal by pairing with Ruman in the Recurve mixed event of Archery World Cup in Switzerland.
The 11-grade student of BKSP was not in the midst of discussion even two months before, although two years ago, she surprised everyone by winning a gold medal in her maiden appearance at an international tournament – 3rd ISSF Solidarity Archery Championships.
Since then she was absent in both domestic and international tournaments before finding herself in Lausanne, Switzerland in May. Her performance in the Final Qualification tournament for Tokyo Olympics in June also fuelled Bangladesh Olympic Association to think highly about her as Diya lost to tournament's 3rd-ranked Slovenian Ana Umer in tie-break in the third round of women's individual Recurve event despite making equal eight points in a one-arrow tie-breaker.
Interestingly, Diya has a good record in international tournaments, with one gold in individual event and one silver medal in mixed event, however, she has yet to win a gold medal in domestic competitions since she started competing in the domestic arena in 2018.
Before the departure for Japan on Friday, Diya shared thoughts about her goals, preparation for the Tokyo Olympics while talking to The Daily Star.
"I never thought that I would take part in the Olympics within such a short span of my playing career, which started in 2017 through the admission at BKSP. Even a few months ago no one knew that I would take part in the Olympics but it is now happening because of a sudden rise in my performance," said Diya.
When asked about whether it would be possible to repeat the performance of the Archery World Cup in Tokyo, Diya said, "Our initial target is to qualify for the 16-team competition in the Recurve mixed event. If we can qualify for the finals, then we can expect some good performance because we have a good match temperament.
"To be honest, if I can perform like I usually do in the practice sessions, then it is possible to produce something good. Personally, I have set a target to secure victories in at least two to three matches in the Recurve individual event," said the girl from Nilphamari.
Diya, unearthed through the National Sports Council's 2017 talent-hunt programme, recorded her best-ever score -- 634 out of 720 -- during the Archery World Cup in Switzerland, although her overall best score of 649 was made during a trial session. However, she is seemingly inconsistent in the elimination round as established by her average score of 8.74 out of 10.
"After playing two World Cups and the Olympic qualification tournament, my confidence has been satisfactory, backed by steady scores of 27 or 28 out of 30 in practice sessions. Also, I am not worried about playing against the world-class archers as I believe in myself to perform well in the Tokyo Olympics," said Diya with full confidence.