An individual all-round rhythmic gymnastics gold for Russia in the just-concluded Rio Olympics has brought untold joy in Bangladesh because the gold medallist, Margarita Mamun, is the daughter of Abdullah AL Mamun, a Bangladesh-born engineer settled in Russia.
Nowhere is that joy more pronounced, however, then in Kashipur village in Rajshahi, Mamun's birthplace.
Over the last two days following her triumph, members of Mamun's household were showing fellow villagers who had flocked to their home Margarita's performance on tablets and smartphones.
His sister Dina Jahura, a resident of Kashipur, informed that Rita -- as Margarita is known in the village -- had visited the village with her father thrice, the most recent being eight years ago, when the Olympic champion would have been 12 years old.
Mamun built a one-storied house in Kashipur for use when he visits with his family. According to Jahura, Anna and Margarita were not used to the spicy Bangladeshi food, so they would eat boiled shrimp and meat.
The Olympian spent most of her time playing with children of the village and sitting by the homestead pond. Jahura said Mamun would often remind his daughter that this is their home and that she should visit whenever she has time.
Jahura also related the sad news that Mamun is now bed-ridden in Russia, fighting with cancer.
Mamun, a marine engineer was admitted to Rajshahi Medical College after achieving his SSC from Durgapur High School and HSC from Rajshahi Government College.
“He lost his interest in medical education after seeing the morgue,” said Jahura. Later in 1983, he went to Russia on an education scholarship and married a Russian rhythmic gymnast named Anna, with whom he has a son Philip Al Mamun along with daughter Margarita.
“She was so small when she visited the village. She has now won gold in the Olympics. She has brought honour for us,” said villager Mujibor Rahman.
“We stayed up at night to watch her play in the Olympics. I am so happy for her triumph that I cannot find the words to express it,” a beaming village girl named Rawshan Ara added.