The Financial Express

Winning Olympic medals for Bangladesh: Issues ahead

| Updated: July 31, 2021 22:47:31

Winning Olympic medals for Bangladesh: Issues ahead

Diya Siddiqui hits a 9. Excellent but not enough. Her opponent Karyna Dziominskaya scored a bullseye in the shoot-off and thus advanced to the next round of archery breaking the teenage Olympian’s heart.

Should be appreciated for her effort; nonetheless, a loss is always disappointing.  And so ends the last realistic possibility of Bangladeshi people to feel proud of their Olympic representatives. Roman Shana, the flag bearer, remains the best performer of the nation after beating Tom hall of Great Britain but falling agonisingly short to Canada’s  Krispin Duenas at 2nd round.

Shooter Abdullah Hel Baki disappointed the most; being 41st of 47 in the 10m Air Rifle event which was nowhere near good, even by his own standard. Swimmer Ariful and Junayna are yet to get into the pool but you need to be an out-of-the-world optimist to believe that they can pull off something special.

The journey of Bangladesh in Olympic in a nutshell. Another disheartening Olympic campaign. But why does such a sports enthusiastic country like us fails to produce in the biggest stage? Why the 8th most populated country in the world manages to have only 5-6 Olympians? Let’s try to find it out.

Less hype about sports among mass people

Now, this may sound weird but undeniably a true fact. The flapping flags while football world cup or the fluttering people at TSC when Bangladesh wins a big cricket match can’t be unseen.

But that’s it. All the craze and fandom and excitement are accumulated in these two sports. Other famous games like Swimming, Table tennis, Tennis, Rugby, etc. quite remains in the dark among our fans. Some enthusiastic sports lovers, maybe spirited enough, follow the other events thoroughly. But the number is amusingly little. And the problem is Cricket does not feature in Olympics. We are one of the worst in football by FIFA rankings. So relying on these two is hopeless.

Lack of ambition and proper planning

This may be the core of all problems in our sports arena. As mentioned, our mass people don’t have much hype or excitement in sports, bar a few. But the craze about those few is magnanimous. 

In the winter season, every street of Bangladesh gets showered with Badminton nets as soon as the dawn appears. Still, there are no Olympic entrants in this event which is, by a huge margin, dominated by Asian countries.

The same can be said for table tennis. Basketball is quite famous among missionary and version schools and colleges. Athletics is the core of all sporting programmes in our country.

And let’s forget about all these. Being a country blessed with rivers, a significant number of people grow up swimming wildly while bathing in the ponds, lakes and rivers. But still no decent swimmer! 

The only way to explain this is a lack of monitoring and planning. Success is an accumulation of long term effort. Hardly anyone is willing to make a long, calculated investment. As much as we like to enjoy, we don’t like to enrol that much. This results in nobody caring or bothering enough. 

Lack of infrastructure and socio-economic reality

The events we participate in like Shooting, Archery, Swimming, Athletics or Golf and all of them require costly equipment or sets. Most Bangladeshi families actually cannot afford them.

And what’s more saddening is no investment is coming for these games. Also, not every school and college here can have a sports programme like the 1st world countries. And if an investment is made, it goes to the grasp of corruption contributing little to sports.

Other casual but important factors

In countries like China, Korea, the USA, Russia, etc., athletes are trained from the ages 7-10 for their pursuit of glory. But such is not the story in our country. Our socio-economic reality does not really interest anyone to provide the youngsters with a chance to concentrate on sports for long. As a result, the talents fade away.

Maybe many small reasons are unseen and untold. But one thing is for sure. If these significant ones are not resolved, we might as well forget our dream of a medal in the Olympics.

The writer is currently an HSC graduate from Dhaka Residential Model College

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