Three years ago in Guwahati, Mabia Akter Simanta left the entire nation moved by sobbing irresistibly at the prize distribution ceremony after she won a gold medal in women’s 63kg weight category in SA Games.
This was one rare gold medal for Bangladesh in the meet and first by a female weightlifter from the county, which left Mabia highly emotional and she could not control herself while receiving her medal.
The success made Mabia a star instantly and changed her life completely, but she did not forget her duty to the nation despite her new-found fame.
The 20-year old weightlifter achieved a rare honour on Saturday when she claimed a gold medal for Bangladesh in successive SA Games in Pokhara Nepal.
Since shooter Saiful Alam Rinki and swimmer Karar Mizanur Rahman, who both won gold medals in 1993 and 1995, no Bangladeshi athlete could win gold in back-to-back SA Games.
Mabia joined the rare group of Bangladeshi athletes by lifting 185kg in women’s 76kg weight category, her best ever performance in the event, which included 80kg in snatch and 105kg in clean & jerk.
Unlike the previous SA Games, Mabia did not break down in tears this time and rather cherished her moment with a beaming face when she received her medal from Bangladesh Olympic Association secretary-general Syed Shahed Reza.
‘I cannot explain my feeling even I say it thousand times,’ an elated Mabia told reporters in Pokhara. ‘I am glad that I was able to repose the faith of my coaches.., this medal was very important for us.
‘The federation, coaches worked very hard for this. I will dedicate this medal to Federation and Bangladesh Ansar, without them maybe I would not get this,’ said the weightlifter.
‘I was more tensed this time, because last time I was a new face and there was no responsibility on me. This time I had more responsibilities. Overall this also was more competitive,’ said Mabia.
Mabia’s gold brought a sense of relief in Bangladesh tent as it came after three barren days for the country in the Games.
Mabia said she had to work hard for the gold medal as her Sri Lankan rival BC Pryanthi was not ready give away an inch and thanked her coaches for giving her confidence in crucial moments.
‘Compared to last edition we had more competitors this time and you had seen Sri Lanka was edging ahead (by lifting more in snatch), then I lifted three kg more… this is my record performance. I never showed this performance in any competition previously,’ she said.
Mabia also asked the authorities to put more emphasis on selective events and ensure better facilities for the prospective medal winners.
‘I would request Bangladesh’s sports authority that the events where we have good prospect give them a better facilities. Four or five months of training before a game are not enough. If we calculate and start training two years ago there will be no competitors ahead of us,’ she said.
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