Winning the gold medal was completely unexpected. I was a bit upset about having an injury on my right elbow just before the competition. Moreover, I had a lack of experience as the 2016 South Asian Games was my first participation in an international meet.
The then secretary of the federation Mohiuddin sir [wing commander (retd) Mohiuddin Ahmed], coaches, my fellow weightlifters and journalists, who were at the indoor venue, were discussing about my injury before the start of the competition and they thought I had lost my chance of winning gold.
They thought that I would merely compete in the Games as my name was on the participants list. One of my closest friends had kept my personal belongings inside a bag, so I could take a quick leave from the venue after the competition.
Like others, at one point I also gave up hopes of winning the medal [gold]. I was thinking that I would be unable to show my best performance due to injury.
I was crying on the inside but I fortunately kept my emotions in control on the outside. I think as an athlete that was the most important and appropriate thing I could have done at that moment. I targeted to fight for at least a bronze or at best for a silver medal.
I competed in the 63kg weight category and lifted 67kg during snatch and 82kg during clean and jerk. After that I knew I had confirmed silver but I didn’t think it would be enough for gold.
I thought I missed the chance of winning gold. I was weeping, sitting at the warm-up zone at a corner of the venue when Faruque sir [weightlifting coach Faruque Ahmed] told me not to cry because I had won the gold medal.
I could not control my emotions. I broke down into tears while receiving the medal and when the national anthem was playing. Actually tears were expressing feelings of my heart.
I am the first female weightlifter of Bangladesh to bag a gold medal. I was on the dais, representing my country, the national anthem was playing only because of my success. You know, such historic moments are always an emotional thing for an athlete. So the emotion was high. It was a dream coming true.
I do not know if it should be considered as the turning point of my life or not. But it has made me whatever I am today. It has also paved the way of income for my family.
From my childhood, I was like a tomboy. I wanted to become famous like a movie star, dreamt of giving interviews before media, to be respected by people. I know, I am not a celebrity like a cricketer or a footballer or a film star. But I think, that tomboy nature gave me the courage to face any challenge.
Wahid Ullah Bakul writes the interview
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