The 41st National Athletics Championship concluded on Sunday with Mezbah Ahmed and Shirin Akter of Bangladesh Navy continuing their supremacy in the men’s and women’s 100-metre sprint events at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
With Sunday’s title, Mezbah and Shirin became the country’s fastest men and women respectively for the fifth and fourth consecutive times.
However, both the athletes failed to cross their personal best in their respective events.
Mezbah clocked 10.78 seconds to beat his team-mate Abdur Rouf, who offered him a great challenge but had to remain content with the silver medal for the second year running.
The distance between Mezbah and Rouf was a fraction of a second [0.010] while Shariful Islam of Bangladesh Army managed bronze with 11.07 seconds.
Mezbah, who set his best timing of 10.72 seconds [electronic] in last year’s South Games in India, said he outran Rouf with his experience and superior technique.
‘I beat Rouf twice using my experience because on both the occasions he offered me a great challenge but failed to beat me due to lack of technique,’ said Mezbah, who set his sight in reaching the semi-final of next April’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.
‘Now I’m practicing hard for the Commonwealth Games meet and my target is to improve my timing to reach the semi-final which is not impossible.’
Meanwhile, after grabbing the 200-metre gold, Shirin dominated the 100-metre sprint to become the fastest woman of the country for the fourth successive times.
Shirin clocked 12.27 seconds, 0.28 second less than her best timing of 11.99 seconds that she set in last year’s SA Games, to beat her team-mate Shohagi Akter, who took 12.40 seconds to finish her race.
Susmita Gosh of Bangladesh Army managed bronze medal with the timing of 12.62 seconds.
Shirin, who managed six gold medals including four in the national meet and two in the summer meet, said the secret behind her continuous success was keeping her in a good shape.
‘I always maintain my fitness which helped me dominate the track for the last few years,’ Shirin said.
‘Now my target is to take good preparation for the next SA Games and I believe if I can get long-term training facilities then winning a gold medal in 100-metre is not impossible.’
After the three-day meet, Bangladesh Navy retained the championship with 47 medals including 15 gold, 21 silver and 11 bronze medals while Navy also managed equal 15 gold medals but they had to remain content with the runners-up spot considering total medals.
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