The ongoing Asian Games in Jakarta came as the final straw for Bangladesh’s declining national sport kabaddi, which failed to win any medal in the men’s or women’s discipline for the first time since it was introduced in the meet in 1990.
Bangladesh men’s team managed three silver medals and two bronze medals until the 2006 Doha Games, but since then they failed to win any medal in the last three editions.
However, women rose to the occasion once men started failing as they won two bronze medals in the past two editions after the event was included in 2010.
Jakarta meet had seen everything was lost for Bangladeshi kabaddi players as both the men’s and women’s teams failed concurrently for the first time.
The blow started from the very first match of the women’s team, who began their campaign with a shocking 28-43 defeat to newcomers Chinese Taipei.
Two following defeats against Iran and South Korea took them out of the medal contention, casting a dark mood in the entire Bangladesh contingent in Jakarta.
Men’s team began their campaign with expected 21-50 defeat against India but managed two successive victories against Thailand and Sri Lanka.
But they failed to advance to the semi-finals following huge 38-18 defeat against South Korea in their last group match.
Both men’s and women’s team coaches held lack of match practice responsible for Bangladesh’s failure despite spending enough time in the training.
Men’s team coach Subimal Chandra Das, who got nine months to prepare the team for the Asian Games, claimed his side were technically better but failed to produce good result only because of lack of practice matches.
‘We got enough preparation time for the Games,’ Subimal told New Age on Sunday, hours after the return of the teams from Jakarta, Indonesia.
‘But we actually failed to do better due to lack of practice matches as we didn’t play any warm-up match before the Games.’
Subimal admitted that countries like Iran, South Korea even Thailand improved their game a lot.
‘Once we defeated South Korea and Iran easily but now they improved a lot and they came here [Indonesia] with proper preparations and played series of preparation matches.
‘I think my boys failed to keep temperament in the full match and they made some silly mistakes that cost us a lot.’
Women’s team coach Abdul Jalil pointed out the same reason behind the failure.
‘After winning the 2014 Asian Games bronze medal, the women’s team didn’t play any international match in the next two years. They won silver medal in the South Asian Games in 2016 but after that the players didn’t get any chance to play any international and local tournaments,’ Jalil said.
‘In the last six months we trained the girls for the Asian Games but we failed to manage any preparation match for them,’ he said, adding that poor domestic structure was also responsible.
‘One of the main reasons behind the failure was that we did not have any domestic structure for the women’s kabaddi. Recently the federation took some initiatives to resume women’s domestic kabaddi but they were not enough to retain the glory.’
Jalil admitted that losing the first game to Chinese Taipei came with a massive blow for the team.
‘I thought we would win against Chinese Taipei, who were an irregular side in world kabaddi. But they proved us wrong. They not only defeated us but also beat Iran to show their improvement,’ said Jalil.
Kabaddi team raider Arduzzaman Munshi said lack of match temperament made them sufferer in the meet.
‘We still believe that we have the ability to win medal in the Asian Games. But the most unfortunate thing was that while other teams improved a lot, we remained stuck to the same place for 12 years,’ said Munshi.
‘We need to train well and play many international tournaments to rectify our mistakes. It was also important to judge our standard before any big event.’
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Miscellany