Ruman Sana has brought name and fame for Bangladesh by winning a bronze medal in the last Hyundai Archery World Cup held in the Netherlands. He is now all set to participate in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020. He is only the second Bangladeshi ever to qualify for the Olympics that too with a significant tournament medal.
Farah Naz Aditi interviewed Ruman Sana to know about his journey to the Olympics and his future aspirations.
Question (Q): How did you feel interested in archery, despite it being an unpopular sport in Bangladesh?
Answer (A): As a kid, I was always attracted to sports. Cricket and football are my favourites. However, I wanted to try out something new, and the opportunity came to me when I was in class nine. An archery camp was arranged in our district, and three students from our school were signed up for the camp. That is when I first heard about the game archery and decided to try it out. I performed well in the district camp and was selected for the national camp, and from there, my journey started. My coach Sajjad Hossain, who is the first Bangladeshi gold medalist in archery, guided me along the way and slowly I moved up to the national team.
Q: What are the facilities available for one to learn and practice archery?
A: There is an archery club in every district of the country along with archery being taught and practised in the six BKSPs (Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan). BKSP holds a talent hunt every year for various sports and archery is one of them. It is also being practised in Bangladesh Army and the Ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP). Besides, the Bangladesh Archery Federation also arranged Youth Training Camps every year in search of young talents. The camp might be a specific event for girls next year.
Q: What is your mindset and target before a major tournament?
A: My target and expectations depend on my preparation and practice. When I was a young player, I aimed to put up a commendable score on the board. I hardly thought about getting medals. Over the years, I have now become a much more experienced player. I have nearly ten years of experience now, and I am currently a senior player of the national team. My targets and mindset have also changed with time and experience. Now, I go to the tournament with a mindset to win medals and bring glory to the country.
Q: You have achieved quite a lot at a very young age. Do you feel nervous while participating in big platforms around the world, and how do you deal with it?
A: Yes, to be honest, I experience heartbeats before each game. I have ended up in the finals of international tournaments four times previously and every time I missed the gold medal. In addition, I feel this was mainly because of my nervousness. The stage set up in the final was very different from other stages. All eyes were set on me, and it was a huge amount of pressure to deal with.
However, I believe I can deal much better now with the pressure. After interacting with other players from all over the world during the last World Cup 2018, I felt that if they can make it, so can I. The experience made me a lot more confident and helped me play better.
Q: What are the challenges you faced, and who supported you during this journey?
A: It has been a long and fruitful journey, and there was a lot of struggle as well. I had faced various challenges starting from misunderstanding with my coach to a bike accident in 2012 when my leg was fractured. At that point, I thought I would never be able to play archery again. It took me almost eight months to recover and come back to the field. Therefore, it was challenging to catch up after that break.
There were times when people doubted my abilities, and it was a challenge to prove them wrong. I wanted to attend the Olympics in 2016, but due to some unavoidable circumstances, it was not possible. Through all these, I never gave up. I had it in my mind that I have to work hard, very hard to reach my goal.
During such challenges, I received support from many people. Primarily, thanks to the Almighty who has blessed me. Secondly, Sajjad Hossain, Babul sir, Ziaul Haq Zia and Nur-e-Alam were always there for me. Even my teammate in my last tournament in which I earned the bronze medal supported me during the tournament. He cheered for me and called out my name during the match when I hit a good score. Finally, my parents had supported me throughout the journey, and I am grateful to them.
Q: What are your goals or aspirations regarding the Olympics? What are your plans for your future?
A: Well, the stage of the Olympics is much bigger than what I have experienced until now. My goal is definitely to bring a medal, and for that, I have to work harder. For me, hard work and practice is the only way to succeed. A plus point for me is that I will be attending the test Olympics this year in Tokyo, where I can prepare under similar conditions before the main show. In future, I want to remain involved with archery and want to pursue my career as a coach of the national team.
Q: What are the necessary qualities one should have to achieve something in life?
A: Firstly, honesty is the most crucial thing in life to achieve anything. Secondly, one has to be industrious. The industry is the key to success, and I believe in that. Finally, everyone should have a goal in life, and they should never give up until they reach their goal.
The interviewer Farah Naz Aditi is working at a leading commercial financial institute in Bangladesh. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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