The 2002 Commonwealth Games was my first participation in an international tournament. It was just after I had sat for my SSC exam from the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan.
I had set a target for myself before the competition. My aim was to advance into the top-eight from the qualification round and then give my best in the 10 shots of the final round.
I was doing well throughout the practice session but was not thinking about winning gold. My BKSP coach Kazi Selim sir, who trained me for around four years before I spent two months training under erstwhile national coach Sidorov Alexandre sir, had suggested me to focus only on giving by best.
During the training, Selim sir always emphasised me to practice as if I am one of the finalists as his only wish was to see me in the final round. So, my aim was to deliver to the best of my ability.
I made it to the final round in fifth position with 587 points. Bindra [Abhinav Bindra of India] had scored 590 points and I had to first recover from that three-point deficit.
I was not thinking about winning gold as I knew Bindra was already a World junior champion. Everyone had marked him as the probable gold winner.
I guess, the tough fight against Bindra started after my fifth shot in the final round. I looked at the scoreboard once at a glance after the fifth shot. After that my only thought was to complete the game my way. I was only counting my score after each shot.
I could sense there was a chance for something good to happen before my last shot as I heard an announcement on the speakers that ‘Bangladesh and India are still in the fight.’
I scored 104.9 out of 109 points from the final round to bag gold with aggregated score [691.9] from both qualification and final round.
At first, I couldn’t believe that I had come first. I made that realisation when Sabrina [shooter Sabrina Sultana] apa told me that I have won gold.
The 10-metre air rifle competition is one of the more popular events in shooting. So after my win journalists from different media, including BBC and CNN, came and asked me questions.
My grandfather was a freedom fighter and he used to tell me that you will play for the nation. I took his words to heart at a young age.
It was, is and will always be a great feeling for me that I raised Bangladesh’s flag on English soil.
Wahid Ullah Bakul writes the interview
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