Having put behind all hesitation regarding the schedule of South Asian (SA) Games in Nepal, the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) has finally started training camp of 23 disciplines for the regional multi-sports extravaganza from last week.
Though the revised decision of holding the 13th edition of the SA Games in Nepal from December 1 to 10 was finalised at the South Asian Olympic Council’s executive board meeting in Bangkok in March, the BOA was apparently reluctant to start the camp, citing that it was not officially informed about the schedule by the host nation.
The BOA, however, started communicating with the Nepal Olympic Committee after the hosts unveiled the mascot and logo of the games in May. The BOA started the training camp after getting assurance from Nepal as well as being ensured of financial assistance from the government.
“Conducting training of the athletes is not responsibility of Bangladesh Olympic Association, still we are doing it,” BOA secretary general Syed Shahed Reza said yesterday. “After getting financial assurance of Tk 15 crore from the government, we sat with different federation officials and instructed them to start training camp from July 15.”
BOA training committee’s member secretary AK Sarker informed that Bangladesh will participate in 25 out of 27 disciplines and, except for cricket and football, all the other federations have started training camps with some 666 athletes -- 355 male and 311 female -- at different venues inside and outside of Dhaka.
Each of the athletes will get Tk 875 for food and laundry per day, he added.
“We haven’t yet decided on how many events we will take part as the federations have sought one month’s time to evaluate their training camp and then they will inform us about the possible events.
“But it is certain that we are not taking part in all events because we will give priority in those events which hold potential and those athletes who are improving their performance,” said Sarker.
Bangladesh only won four gold medals -- two in swimming and one each in shooting and weightlifting -- along with 15 silver and 56 bronze medals in the 12th SA Games in Guwahati and Shillong in 2016.
Shahed Reza said that they will extend their helping hand in case the federations want to rope in foreign coaches for good results from the regional competitions.
He also informed that China assured them of providing two coaches in weightlifting and gymnastics, even though gymnastics is not an SA Games discipline, adding that kabaddi and shooting already have foreign coaches.
“I hope the athletes will produce better results than the last edition because cricket has returned after one edition. Football, shooting, archery and fencing have potential while there is good possibility in taekwondo, judo and wushu due to exclusion of Afghanistan from the games,” Reza said.