Bangladesh In SA Games

Record haul fails to cover major failures

Azad Majumder . Kathmandu | Published: 00:00, Dec 11,2019


Bangladesh athletes wave flags during the closing ceremony of the 13th SA Games at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal on Tuesday. — BOA photo

Bangladesh took satisfaction in their record haul of gold medals in the South Asian Games though they were unable to put a cover in their failure in some of the key disciplines in the just-concluded meet in Kathmandu.

The Games ended in Kathmandu on Tuesday with Bangladesh finishing fifth place in medals table just above Maldives and Bhutan thanks to 142 medals, which included 19 gold, 33 silver and 90 bronze medals.

This is the best-ever SA Games for Bangladesh in terms of medal count as they won highest 18 gold medals previously when they hosted Games last time in Dhaka in 2010.

However, if the number of total medals available was taken into consideration there should not any reason to feel complacent. While Dhaka meet had only 158 gold medals available in 23 disciplines, athletes competed for 317 gold medals in 27 disciplines in Kathmandu.

Bangladesh participated in all disciplines, except triathlon, but got a reasonable success only in archery, karate, cricket, weightlifting, taekwondo and fencing.

At least five disciplines – basketball, squash, volleyball, tennis and cycling failed to win a single medal while just one bronze medal came in handball, down from silver in the last meet in Guwahati.

Badminton, which had a troubled build up for the Games, also could win just one bronze medal in mixed doubles.

Kabaddi, the so-called national sport of Bangladesh, won just two bronze medals after finishing fourth in both men’s and women’s events and the same number of bronze medals came from table tennis.

Shooting, once regarded as a highly prospective game from Bangladesh, also fired blank as they failed to win a gold medal only for the second time since 1991.  Bangladesh failed to win any gold from athletics and swimming - two major disciplines in any meet.

While swimming could take consolation from three silver medals and a handful of bronzes, athletics had very little to offer apart from one shared silver medal in men’s high jump.

Bangladesh could also win just bronze medal in football despite sending almost the entire national team as opposed to the participants.

Archery mostly saved the faces of Bangladeshi officials, many of them of came to the meet with friends and family members, as they won an unprecedented 10 gold medals out of 10 in the absence of suspended India.

Two gold medals in cricket events that missed the presence of two regional powerhouses India and Pakistan also inflated Bangladesh’s gold tally, giving over 600-member strong tour party something to celebrate.

‘I am really happy as we could go close to the expectations,’ said Bangladesh Olympic Association secretary general Syed Shahed Reza. ‘Some disciples did really badly, but we are not disappointed. The many silvers that we got we had expected some of them to turn gold.

‘If you look at the slivers, they are much higher than the last meet. If they would become gold, our result would have been much better,’ he said.

India finished the Games with 172 gold medals despite not sending athletes in many disciplines while hosts Nepal also won more than 50 gold medals for the first time in their history.

Many of Nepal gold medals from combat events which BOA secretary general said Bangladesh should target now if improve their medal hauls in future meets.

‘If we want to play for medal we must give priority to the events where we won gold medals. There are plenty of medals in martial art events. 22-25 gold medals in each discipline.  If we can take 25 per cent of them we could take gold tally to close to 40 to 50,’ he said.

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