Bangladesh archery team’s German coach Martin Frederick chose not to return home as he felt it safe to remain in Bangladesh during the pandemic and was spending his time learning new skills which would help him be a better coach.
‘I got the opportunity to go back to Germany…I got information from my embassy and they were asking…That was a very hard and complicated decision for me to make,’ Martin told New Age.
‘I decided to stay here because I feel safe here. I know I have the necessary backing from my federation. So I feel good and made the decision to stay here,’ he added.
On March 16, the ministry of youth and sports advised all sport governing bodies to suspend domestic competitions and training camps but the ministry exempted archery and allowed them continue with their training camp under Martin for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Some 22 archers including ace archer Roman Shana, who had directly qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, continued training at the Shaheed Ahsan Ullah Master Stadium in Tongi in complete isolation.
Martin and his charges were determined to carry on with their training but it finally got halted on March 24 after the International Olympic Committee suspended the Tokyo Olympics for one year.
After the suspension of the camp all archers left for their respective homes but Martin decided to stay in Bangladesh and not leave for Germany.
Staying at an apartment in Uttara provided by the Bangladesh Archery Federation, the 52-year old coach was now doing some office work and researching different aspect of the game within the confines of his home.
‘I have some office work. Also I am reading, learning and doing some research about our sport. I am also in contact with the federation, if there is something to do, some office work, we do it from distance,’ he said.
The coach was also using his free time to learn Bangla as he thought it would help him communicate better with his players and aid him in his time in Bangladesh.
‘Apart from this, I am learning Bangla. I take Bangla classes. I take Bangla online classes two times in a week.
'It’s very important for my job here in Bangladesh for the communication with my players, federation and with people here. I always try to speak a little Bangla,’ said Martin, who is in the coaching profession for the last 25 years.
Martin has also been preparing tasks for his players on a regular basis and instructing them to work out at their homes.
But Martin was worried about the damage being done to the players’ fitness during this lengthy break and was already making plans on how he would get his charges back at their best once training resumes.
‘I have a good plan on how we will restart after the lockdown. This is a big gap. So I am a little bit worried about the quality of the players after the break,’ he said.
The coach informed that he was in regular contact with his family in Germany and they were all doing well during this pandemic.
Martin was appointed as Bangladesh archery team’s coach for five years in March 2018 and the country’s archery has achieved a number of notable successes at the international stage under his guidance.
Shana became the first Bangladeshi archer to directly qualify for the Olympics under Martin's tutelage and Bangladesh also won gold medals in all 10 archery events at the 13th South Asian Games held in Kathmandu, Nepal in December 2019.
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