Aiming for the bullseye
Mohammed Ruman Shana made history by reaching the finals of Archery World Cup 2021, along with fellow archer, Diya Siddique. The duo secured a silver medal in the recurve mixed event.
Ruman was interested in sports from a young age, and one of his teachers introduced him to archery. "I dreamt of becoming a cricketer or a footballer. However, when I got to know about archery, I was immensely fascinated with it and began practicing," says the Khulna-based sportsman.
Ruman's passion for archery fully materialised when he joined a training programme for a youth archery camp, organised by the Archery Federation of Bangladesh. At the camp, he qualified amongst 40 other candidates selected from 12 districts around Bangladesh. Through this talent hunt, he joined the Bangladesh National Team in Dhaka.
Being only 13 at that time, he decided to postpone participating in any tournaments as he had to continue his education. After completing his SSC exams, he resumed his journey in archery, and in a matter of a few days, he bagged a silver medal in a national championship.
However, a tragic accident in 2012 led to a leg injury for Ruman, forcing him to take a break from archery. He soared back after eight months, winning two gold medals in the 8th Bangladesh Games in 2013. "It was a defining moment for me as a Bangladeshi archer when I received a gold medal in 2014 for the international tournament, Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok, Thailand," adds Ruman.
Moreover, he won a second gold medal in Bishkek at the 2017 International Archery Tournament. In 2019, he secured a silver medal in the ISSF International Solidarity Archery Championships, a bronze in the 2019 World Archery Championships, and later, a gold medal in the Asia Cup ranking tournament.
Besides his many local and international accomplishments, he made a record by securing a qualifying spot for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. He is the second Bangladeshi to qualify directly for an Olympic Games, following golf player Siddikur Rahman.
"In Bangladesh, sports like archery, boxing, judo or any other games under the discipline of Olympics don't get much recognition despite having young and talented players. It is time we bring them to the limelight, with recognition and financial support from the government," adds Ruman.
He believes that if archery is introduced to students in schools, more people will be interested in it. "Archery is an expensive game. However, if we can spread its popularity it will be a more affordable sport. Given that already 30 to 40 districts in Bangladesh have their own archery clubs, I am hopeful that things will change for the better soon."
Ruman shares that he has seen many youngsters who want to learn archery. "I want to prepare for the 2028 Summer Olympics. Eventually if the federation gives me the chance to coach new and young archers, I would like to invest in building better and more talented archers than myself," he concludes.
The author is a freelance journalist and a potential political scientist who likes to read poems and write short stories. Email: email@example.com.