Bangladesh archery players and officials on Sunday played down the absence of India as the main reason behind their success in the SA Games after they clinched six gold medals out of six finals in Pokhara, Nepal so far.
Bangladesh were expecting complete sweep in archery, having reached the final in all 10 events in the absence of key rivals India, who had been suspended by World Archery in August for internal dispute in the country’s federation.
Star Bangladeshi archer Roman Shana, who won two gold medals so far in men’s recurve team and mixed event, acknowledged India’s absence made it easy for them but suggested that they could achieve results even with their presence.
‘If India was here it would have been more competitive definitely, because they are also a strong team like us,’ Shana told reporters in Pokhara. ‘[But] now our world ranking is better than them and we are not lagging behind at the least. But it would have strong fight, yes,’ said Shana.
Bangladesh’s German coach Martin Fredericks pointed out the score of his charges to show why they would have been successful even with India competing in the archery discipline.
‘Of course, it would have been challenging,’ said Fredericks. ‘But look at our women’s score in the qualification round, which was six, eight, six. Also India have problem to reach that,’ he said.
‘So, we were very good. Ladies division made a new national record in the qualification round. So, maybe it will not be easier but also we get a very good result here,’ he added.
Shana, who will be aiming for his third gold medal today in men’s individual recurve event, said despite the absence of India it was not easy for them.
‘In archery you cannot take any opponent lightly because you never know what will come next and you have to have the confidence until the last arrow. If there is an accident it could be all over,’ said Shana.
Shana, who became the first Bangladeshi archery to get a direct entry in Olympics, cherished his success in SA Games.
‘In our country SA Games is seen importantly because we never get too many medals in international competition. In that sense it is a big achievement,’ he said.
Coach Fredericks also hailed the success as ‘something special.’
‘All sports are here, all the nations and the team are together. In our hotel we are with the weightlifters and they won gold yesterday [Sunday]. So to be with them at the same hotel, with the same gold we looked at the medal table. So it is a different experience to be with other sports,’ he said.
Fredericks did not want to take credit alone for the team’s success.
‘I give inputs for the country. I am glad to do that for Bangladesh. Also it really is team work. The federation, the players of course, the management and also our sponsors,’ he said.
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