The Bangladeshi archers could not create their own small piece of history on the concluding day of the Hyundai Archery World Cup (stage-2) in Shanghai, China yesterday. However, Bangladesh’s German archery coach Martin Fredrick felt that a fourth-place finish in the men’s recurve team event was a tremendous stride in terms of the sport’s development in the country.
Following a defeat against Turkey in the semifinals, Bangladesh had to face Olympic medallists South Korea in yesterday’s bronze medal deciding match. Toppling the Asian giants to win the bronze would have been Bangladesh’s greatest-ever achievement in archery but as expected, South Korea triumphed in the end but not before being made to work for it.
Bangladesh, comprised of Ruman Sana, Tamimul Islam, Hakib Ahmed Rubel, stunned South Korea by winning the first set, however, the boys in red and green could not hold onto the momentum. South Korea’s world class archers showed tremendous consistency in the next three sets to hand Bangladesh a 6-2 set points defeat.
Archery is a relatively new discipline in the country but with their sights set on at least a bronze medal in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the Bangladesh Archery Federation appointed an experienced German coach to help achieve their goal.
“Yes, they could have won the bronze medal but I believe that finishing fourth in the World Cup was a big achievement for Bangladesh nevertheless and an important step for the future,” said Fredrick through social media.
Although Bangladesh did unexpectedly well in the team recurve event, the individual performances were not as inspiring as most of the archers in the recurve and compound events were either eliminated from the first or second round while Sana and Rubel only advanced to the third round.
“If you talk about team events, it’s not necessary to evaluate the performance of the individual player. They fought together and helped each other as a team. It was really nice to see the mood as united team. During all rounds of the finals everyone from the team had a very good performance and also few situations where they struggled. However, they compensated with excellent team work,” said Fredrick, who congratulated Rubel on his 17th place finish in the individual event seeing as it was his first-ever World Cup.
The German said he believes that there is still a lot to improve on for Bangladeshi archers and added that he would work on those aspects so that the team can earn a quota placement for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“We have to continue improving our results in the qualification round and there is still space to improve,” he said. “I prefer to aim for the first step before the second and we try hard, we can qualify for the Olympic Games.”
Echoing Fredrick’s sentiment, Ruman also saw the fourth place finish as a big achievement for the team as this was the first time that they had done so well at a major tournament. It should be mentioned though that Bangladesh previously won gold medals in the ISSF Islamic Solidarity Archery Championships and South Asian Archery Championships.
“Playing in the semifinals of the World Cup is perhaps a big achievement for any discipline of Bangladesh except cricket and shooting and we proved to the rest of world that Bangladesh are going forward as a strong archery nation,” said Sana.
Since Bangladesh will not be participating in the third-stage of World Cup, to be held in Turkey later this month, are expected to attend June’s World Championships with hopes of earning a quota spot for the Tokyo Olympics.