Bangladesh will send one of its largest ever contingent for the forthcoming Asian Games, to be held in Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang, with a very little hope to win a medal, officials said on Wednesday.
A total of 163 athletes and officials from 14 disciplines will represent Bangladesh in the meet, scheduled from August 18 to September 2.
Officials of the Bangladesh Olympic Association, however, said that they were expecting success only in three disciplines – shooting, archery and kabddi, though there was no clear promise of winning a medal.
Bangladesh won only one gold medal in their history of Asian Games, which came in 2010 in men’s cricket, a discipline that had been excluded from this year’s meet due to lack of infrastructure in host cities.
In the last Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, Bangladesh won silver in women’s cricket and bronze in men’s cricket and women’s kabaddi.
Bangladesh’s only individual medal in Asian Games — a bronze — came way back in 1986 when boxer Mosharraf Hossain became third in 81-kg heavyweight category.
‘We can always hope for a good result. But Asian Games is a tough competition. In fact it is the biggest meet after Olympics. Yet we are expecting some success in shooting, archery and kabaddi,’ BOA secretary general Syed Shahed Reza told at a press conference.
‘Shooting has always given us some success at international meets. Our women’s kabaddi team is winning bronze medal regularly. Archery also proved their potential in recent international meets,’ said Reza.
The BOA secretary general said they were also expecting a decent performance from bridge, a non-Olympic event, which included in the Asian Games for the first time.
‘We tend to do well in mind Games. In that consideration, bridge also has some potential. But it will always depend how players feel on the given day,’ Reza said.
Apart from shooting, archery, kabaddi and bridge Bangladesh will also participate in athletics, basketball, golf, football, beach volleyball, hockey, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling and rowing.
Among the disciplines, Bangladesh will participate only in men’s department of football, bridge, hockey, beach volleyball and rowing.
In weightlifting only woman athlete – SA Games gold medallist Mabia Aktar will compete.
Bangladesh will compete in rest of the disciplines in both men’s and women’s department.
Lone weightlifter Mabia was handed the honour of carrying Bangladesh’s flag in the opening ceremony on August 18.
BOA secretary general Reza said they also had another gold medallist, shooter Shakil Ahmed, for the honour but in the end they opted for Mabia.
‘Shooter Baki [Albdullah Hel Baki] carried our flag in Commonwealth Games, so we were looking for someone else for the honour. Apart from winning gold medal in SA Games, Mabia also did well in Commonwealth Games. That is why, we chose her,’ he said.
The first batch of Bangladesh contingent, which included beach volleyball, rowing and shooting team, would leave Dhaka for the Games on August 13.
Football team, which was drawn with Uzbekistan, Thailand and Qatar, would reach Jakarta on August 11 from Korea, where they played three warm-up matches recently.
Lieutenant General Abul Hossain, a former director general of Border Guard Bangladesh, was named as chef the mission for Bangladesh while Bangladesh Basketball Federation official Lieutenant Commander (retd) AK Sarker was named as deputy chef de mission.
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