Baki Olympics-bound, others uncertain

Sudipta Ananda
Abdullah Hel Baki

Abdullah Hel Baki

Shooter Abdullah Hel Baki became the first Bangladeshi athlete to have been awarded a wild-card entry for the forthcoming Summer Olympics, scheduled to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5-21.
Officials of the Bangladesh Olympic Association said that the International Olympic Committee confirmed the wild-card entry for 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver medallist Baki on Wednesday against their demand of two wild-cards from shooting.
The 10-metre air-rifle shooter, Baki, who is now in Munich, Germany to take part in the ISSF World Cup shooting, was expected to be joined by fellow shooter Shovon Chowdhury in Rio, who did well in the recent South Asian Games having missed the 10-metre air rifle gold narrowly.
Intekhabul Hamid Apu, the general secretary general of Bangladesh Shooting Federation, said they are yet to give up hope for Shovan.
‘Now we will try to pursue the IOC to give a wild-card to Shovon under special consideration as so far I know there are still seven wild-cards remained available,’ he said.
Four years ago in London Bangladesh had five representatives in Olympics in archer Emdadul Haque Milon, shooter Sharmin Akhter Ratna, swimmer Mahfizur Rahman Sagar, athlete Mohon Khan and gymnast Syque Caesar.
This time, the BOA had asked for eight wild-card entries from four disciplines — shooting, weightlifting, archery and boxing – while swimming and athletics are expected to get wild-cards from their respective world governing body.
But officials said apart from Baki they are yet to receive a wild-card for any other athletes.
‘We hope to get wild-cards for other disciplines very soon,’ member secretary of BOA’s training and development committee Rafiqul Islam, who appeared unhappy over how some federations are dealing their prospective Olympians.
‘The Olympic Solidarity is providing financial support for swimming, boxing and archery since March last year, but due to irregularity of the training camp players are not getting regular support,’ he said.
‘Archery and shooting federations continued their training camp that they started before the South Asian Games and the swimming federation just started their camp under South Korean coach Park Tae Goon.
‘But athletics, weightlifting and boxing are yet to take any notable initiative.’
Bangladesh Athletics Federation general secretary Ibrahim Chengis also admitted that they are yet to take any serious initiatives for Olympics except providing two names to the BOA.
‘BOA asked two names for the wild-cards and we provided two 100-metre sprinters Mezbah Uddin Ahmed and Shirin Akter’s name,’ said Chengis.
‘Though we are yet to give any support, both athletes are training individually under their Bangladesh Navy coach Mohammad Rafuque.’
Mezbah, who is dreaming to become an Olympian for the first time, is hoping to get all the facilities from the federation soon.
‘I and Shirin are preparing under our services team. We hope the federation will start the training camp soon for the Olympic Games.’
Bangladesh Boxing Federation general secretary MA Kuddus claimed that they continued their preparation camp even before the SA Games.
‘Our boxer Al-Amin is preparing under his Bangladesh Army coach Abdul Mannan and I hope he will get the wild-card for the Olympics,’ Kuddus said.
‘Even though he didn’t perform well in the SA Games, we picked him after he became the best boxer of the country in the national championship.’
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Swimming Federation asked two wild-cards for last editions Olympians Mahfizur Rahman Sagar and Sonia Akter Tumpa.
‘We asked two wild-cards for two swimmers who took part in the last year’s World Swimming Championship in Russia,’ chairman of training and development committee Laila Nur said.
‘Sagar is doing well in the year-long training programme in Thailand and have the batter chance to get wild-card if world governing body of swimming FINA provides us only one card.’
Bangladesh Weightlifting Federation is hoping to get at least one wild-card for SA Games gold medallist Mabia Akter Simanta while Bangladesh Archery Federation is running their training camp with four archers with a hope of getting two wild-cards.

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