If you happened to have visited the Bangabandhu National Stadium premises in recent times, you would have noticed an imposing structure of steel and corrugated iron sheets sprung upon half of what was known to be the outer stadium ground. The structure with a steel roof supporting solar panels, with a gallery at one side and a well-decorated building behind, has been named Sheikh Russel Roller Skating Complex, and is the prime venue for the 4th Rollball World Cup, which is set to get underway tomorrow.
There is a last-minute hurry to get everything in order at the complex for the world cup, which according to hosts Bangladesh Roller Skating Federation (BRSF), will be the biggest congregation of teams in any world cup at a single venue (city). A total of 27 men's teams and 39 women's teams from 40 countries are taking part in this world cup, scheduled from February 17 to 23, which saw two of its first three editions held in India, with the other one being held in Kenya.
The BSRF general secretary Ahmed Asiful Hasan informed that Bangladesh men's team, which finished seventh among 34 teams in the third edition of the world cup two years ago, are now better prepared at home.
“We are better prepared this time. We played a few practice matches against defending champions India and third-ranked side Nepal over our preparation time of last one-and-a-half months. We beat Nepal and drew against India. So we believe our team will do well. Bangladesh will be competing in both men's and women's events,” he said.
The BRSF president and chief coordinator of SDG affairs of Prime Minister's Office, Abul Kalam Azad, informed that the infrastructure at the chief venue has been built at a cost of Tk 11.61 crore while the two other venues -- Handball Stadium and Mirpur Indoor Stadium -- and other accommodation facilities have been renovated at a cost of Tk 10.64 crore. All of this infrastructure has been set up or renovated with sustainable development as a goal.
Planning Minister AHM Mostafa Kamal MP will inaugurate the world cup tomorrow morning while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will distribute prizes after the final on the afternoon of February 23, speakers informed.
The press conference was attended, among others, by National Sports Council secretary Ashok Kumar Biswas and secretary for youth and sports ministry Akhtar Uddin Ahmed.
What is rollball anyway?
Conceptualised by an Indian named Raju Dabhade, the game of rollball combines roller skating with aspects of handball and basketball. The game is played between two teams of 12 players, out of whom only six players of each team are allowed to play on court at a time. The game is played with a basketball and the aim is to score goals in a goalpast similar to that in handball. The playing surface can be either hard court, wooden or ice. The first Rollball World Cup was held in India in 2011, and after Kenya hosted the second edition two years later, India again hosted the event in 2015. India are the defending champions in the men's event.