Sports hit pause as Bangladesh goes into lockdown

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:21, Apr 13,2021 | Updated: 23:27, Apr 13,2021


Bangladesh’s sports fraternity are getting a flashback of last year’s enforced sabbatical due to COVID-19, as almost all sports organisations have stopped on-field activities ahead of the week-long countrywide lockdown, which begins today.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a severe turn in the country, with an uptick in the number of patients and mortality rate in the recent weeks.

In these circumstances, the government has opted for a lockdown, which forced many sporting bodies to hit pause on their events and alter their plans.

Abahani Limited was scheduled to host Maldivian outfits Eagles Club in their AFC Cup’s preliminary round-two play-off match in Dhaka on April 14 but due to the pandemic situation, the match will now take place on April 21 in either Nepal or Maldives.

But the fate of the match now hangs in the balance as the government has cancelled all passenger flights during the lockdown period, meaning Abahani’s initial plan of leaving home on April 19 is likely to fall through.

Abahani has asked the Asian Football Confederation to hold the match at a different time, but no conclusive decision has yet been made.

‘We informed everything about the current situation to the AFC. They suggested us to think alternative and in reply, we left the responsibility on them [AFC] to make the decision about it,’ Abahani’s team manager Satyajit Das Rupu told New Age.

The Bangladesh Football Federation had already deferred the second leg of the Bangladesh Premier League and the second leg of the second-tier competition Bangladesh Champions League.

Both competitions and the women’s league, which started on March 31, will resume approximately one week after the lockdown ends.

‘The second-leg of the BPL and BCL will begin at least one week after the end of the ongoing lockdown. And all the other leagues will resume after five-day of the end of lockdown,’ BFF’s head of competitions Zaber Bin Taher Ansari told New Age.

Meanwhile, the South African women’s emerging cricket team cut-short their five-match series by one game against their Bangladeshi counterparts and returned home on Tuesday to avoid the countrywide lockdown.

Bangladesh Cricket Board, earlier, postponed its first-class competition Nation Cricket League after the first two rounds ended on April 1.

BCB chief executive officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury informed New Age that they will restart the league after the lockdown ends.

The Bangladesh Athletic Federation wanted to bring in Indian high jump coach GV Gaonkar to train local jumpers after the end of 9th Bangabandhu Bangladesh Games, but now they were forced to change their plans.

‘We thought to invite him after Bangladesh Games. But now the training for high jumpers will be shifted after the end of the lockdown,’ said Athletics Federation general secretary Abdur Rakib Montu.

Bangladesh Hockey Federation doesn’t have any scheduled event during the whole month of Ramadan, which starts today.

Only the country’s archers will remain busy during the lockdown period as they will take part in the team-qualification trial from April 13 to 15 to form the team which will compete in Paris in an attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Archery team-qualification trial will be held amid tight safety measure at the Shaheed Ahsan Ullah Master Stadium in Tongi, said Bangladesh Archery Federation’s general secretary Kazi Rajib Uddin Ahmed Chapal.

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