Ace Bangladeshi archer Ruman Shana set a lofty target for himself in his first Olympics appearance and expressed ambition to take his country to the top of world archery in an interview featured on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics official website on Thursday.
Shana, who was set to represent Bangladesh in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in archery, has made a splash in the global scene in the past few years and has established himself as the country’s premier archer.
Ranked 14th in the world right now, Shana became only the second athlete after golfer Siddikur Rahman and the first archer from Bangladesh to secure a direct qualification for Olympics by winning the bronze medal in World Archery Championship in the Netherlands last year.
Shana’s quick rise to the top lit a glimmer of hope in many Bangladeshis hearts that the 25-year old will end Bangladesh’s wait for their first medal in the biggest sporting extravaganza in the world.
Shana, however, kept his feet on the ground, as he felt he was not yet ready to win a medal in the competition but aimed to finish in the top-eight.
‘Because it’s my first time to qualify for the Olympics, I can’t expect to get a medal, so for the first time, [my dream] is to get to the quarterfinals,’ Shana said.
The Khulna-born archer also wanted to observe the top archers in the world closely during the competition.
‘Top 10 [athletes] like Kim Woojin, Mauro Nespoli, Brady Ellison and other people, they shoot really good so they are also reminding me [that they are] human and if they can shoot like this, [I can],’ he added.
Shana’s dreams, however, weren’t limited to himself as he wanted to lead the rise of archery in the country and establish Bangladesh as a powerhouse in the world of archery.
‘My dream is for my team to become a strong team in the world. It’s one of the most important things because our team - we are one family. [The Bangladesh] archery is one family.
‘I hope we become a stronger team in the future and get all world cup medals in team events like [South] Korea, Italy, France and USA,’ he said.
Shana also talked about how he became engrossed with archery in a country obsessed with only cricket and football.
Shana was introduced to archery in 2010 during a training programme launched by the game’s governing body in the country to popularise the game to the younger generation.
‘In my country, football and cricket were famous at that time. Only a few people knew about archery. At that time, [archery] was played only in my country for six years.
‘[But] an ex-national archer and first gold medal holder came to our district to teach archery. He introduced archery and the bow, and at that time we were taught with a bamboo bow.’
Introduction of Martin Frederick as Bangladesh archery team’s head coach also played an important role in Shana’s quick rise, believed the archer.
The German coach joined the post in 2018 and under his guidance Shana won his ticket to Olympics and Bangladesh archery team also won all ten medals of the South Asian Games last year.
‘He’s [Martin] a fantastic person. His teaching level is [like a] Korean coach or US coaches,’ Shana said.
‘My team became stronger individually. Everything [has] now become stronger. Our talent programme now [includes] like 200 archers in my country professionally. When he came, he recreated many competitions and various activities. We follow [them] in practise and we get good results,’ he added.
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