Shila derailed by knee injury
An unexpected knee-cap dislocation during the 100m breaststroke of the 28th National Swimming Championships cost Mahfuza Akter Shila as she had to give up half-way through the event at the Syed Nazrul Islam National Swimming Complex in Mirpur yesterday.
The South Asian (SA) Games double-gold medallist, who lit up the swimming pool in Assam earlier this year with a new SA Games record, was clearly ahead of her competitions as she looked certain to retain the 100m breaststroke gold medal after the first lap. However, Bangladesh Navy swimmer was dealt a heavy blow at the start of the return lap as she dislocated her knee-cap, leaving Rumana Akter of Bangladesh Army to create a new record by erasing Shila's national record of 1.19:54 seconds which was made in 2014. Rumana took 1.19.53 seconds.
The sudden knee injury took Shila further out of the limelight after the federation keept the brilliant swimmer out of focus with their branding of the national championships.
The SA Games gold medalist was supposed to be main focus of the Bangladesh Swimming Federation's (BSF) promotional banners and festoons inside and outside the pool, but she was nowhere to be seen even though a photograph of a possible sponsor found a place alongside photographs of the prime minister, state and deputy ministers, the chairman of the standing committee on youth and sports and the BSF president.
Some officials had raised questions about holding the meet in winter and the shortening of the championships to only three days, which hindered the swimmers' ability to put up their best displays due to the tight schedule. The federation is also violating the rules of Water Polo as they are completing each game in 12 minutes rather than 32 regulation minutes.
National coach Park Tae Gun even criticised the staging of the final event without prior notice and believes such a hectic schedule has put swimmers under huge pressure to compete in more than one event every day.
“We could not hold the meeting at a proper time because of the talent hunt programme. We have also been forced to reduce the time due to another programme next month. But we have made the schedules and the final without heats with the consent of all officials,” explained BSF general secretary Rafiz Uddin.
Meanwhile, five national records [handing timing] were set on the opening day with Romana Akter, Mahfuzur Rahman Sagor, Rumana Akter, Naima Akter Sonali and the 4X200m free-style relay team of Bangladesh Navy creating new national records.