Dipu Chakma fulfilled his dream of raising the country’s flag on a global stage after winning the first gold medal for Bangladesh in Taekwondo in the 13th South Asian Games at the Taekwando Hall in Satdobato on Monday.
‘I always dreamt of upholding Bangladesh’s flag in a big podium while the national anthem will be playing. It was a different feeling. This is my first gold medal in a big event,’ overjoyed Dipu told Bangladeshi reporters after making his dream a reality.
‘I am still overwhelmed that I have won the first gold medal for Bangladesh. I can’t express the feeling in words,’ he added.
Dipu won the top-prize in Taekwondo male individual poomsae 29 years above event with a score of 8.11 competing against four other athletes in the event.
Sri Lanka’s Lakshman Ilandarige won the silver medal while Nepal’s Rejin Rimal and India’s Gangphung Gangsa had to settle for bronze medals respectively.
Dipu, who has been a member of the Bangladesh army since 2005, credited senior taekwondo athlete and a former SA Games gold medallist Mizanur Rahman for inspiring him to follow his footsteps.
Mizanur, previously, had clinched the 78kg category gold medal in the 2006 SA Games in Sri Lanka.
‘I joined the Army in 2005. In 2006 I was in a battalion when I saw in a newspaper that Mizanur Rahman had won gold medal in taekwondo. I was doing taekwondo from 2001 but wasn’t in the squad then. After getting into the squad in 2008, I began dreaming about winning a medal,’ he said.
Dipu was first introduced to the sport in 2001, when the current secretary of Bangladesh Takewondo Federation Mahmudul Islam Rana conducted a 10-day long programme in his hometown of Rangamati and he made his way to the national squad seven years later.
The army-man didn’t forget to pay his dues to his first coach, dedicating his gold medal to Rana for keeping faith on his abilities even when he was struck with injury.
‘I dedicate this medal to Mahmudul Islam Rana sir. Because despite me getting injured, he persisted with me. He gave me a chance because he believed I could achieve something,’ Dipu said.
Dipu earlier had two gold medals to his name in the 2013 Bangladesh Games but was yet to make a mark in international stage.
He got his chance in Nepal this year, after the poomsae event was included in the Games for the first time ever.
Bangladesh also won six bronze medals in taekwondo on the opening day, to surpass their tally of the 2016 SA Games in India, where they won only three bronze medals.
The bronze medallists are Anika Akter, Nurunnahar Akter in the female individual poomsae in their respective age categories, Kamrul Islam and Mehedi Hassan in the male individual poomsae event in their respective age categories.
The pair of Nooruddin Hussain, Ruma Khatun and Dipu, Maushumi Akter won bronze in the pair poomsae event in their respective age categories.
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