Frustrated swimmers demand promised rewards

Sudipta Ananda | Updated at 11:13pm on March 19, 2018


Mahfuza Khatun Shila

Bangladesh Swimming Federation left the swimmers frustrated when they failed to fulfil their commitment of awarding cash incentives to the medal winners of South Asian Games, which held more than two-year ago in Guwahati and Shillong in India.
When successful athletes from other disciplines received cash rewards from their respective bodies after winning medals, swimmers left in predicament by their federation.
Before the Games, swimming federation announced Tk three lakh for each gold medal while Tk two lakh and Tk one lakh for silver and bronze medal holders respectively to inspire the swimmers.
Bangladesh’s swimmers brought a total of 17 medals for the country including, two gold medals and 15 bronze medals.
According to the announcement, the federation owed Tk 21 in cash rewards to 14 swimmers.
Swimmer Mahfuza Khatun Shila was toast of Bangladesh team in Guwahati as she grabbed two out of Bangladesh’s four gold medals, respectively in the 50metre and 100metre breaststroke events.
Shila not only won two gold medals also contributed to winning the 4×100 m medley relay bronze medal for the country. According to the announcement, federation owed Tk 6.25 lakh to Shila alone.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina awarded an apartment to each gold medalist while the Bangladesh Olympic Association and the National Sports Council also awarded cash incentives to them.
But swimmers said they were not duly recognized by their parent organization.
‘We didn’t get a single penny from the federation for our achievement in the SA Games over two years ago,’ Shila told New Age on Monday.
‘We asked the federation officials for the bonus on several occasions but they didn’t show any concern over this issue.
‘Usually, the federation announces cash reward only to inspire the athletes. After getting the commitment we gave our best to bring some achievement for the country but it made us sad as the federation broke their promise.’
Mahfizur Rahman Sagar managed seven bronze medals including four individual and three relay events.
‘We are yet to get the cash reward from the federation,’ said Sagar, who was supposed to get Tk 4.75 lakh.
‘The amount of the reward is not a big factor as we took the announcement as an honour but I really don’t know when we will receive the honour.’
Jewel Ahmed, who also managed five bronze medals including three individuals and two relay events, was still waiting for the cash reward.
‘I’m still waiting to get the incentive from the federation,’ Jewel said.
‘Hope the current committee will take immediate measures to fulfil their promise.’
Besides, Shajahan Ali Rony, Shariful Islam, Romana Akter and Sonia Akter managed one bronze each in individual events while Anik Islam, Ashraf Reza, Mohammad Mahmudunnabi, Kamal Hossain Naima Akter and Nazma Khatun also contributed two wins three bronze medals in the relay events.
General Secretary of BSF, MB Saif said that the former committee made the promise while he didn’t have any written document on this matter.
‘When the swimmers won medals that time I was not in the general secretary post and after taking the charge I didn’t get any written evidence over the announcement,’ said Saif, who was also a joint secretary of the immediate past executive committee.
‘This issue had been discussed at our meeting before but we were yet to take any initiative.’
‘I will raise the issue at our next executive committee meeting. But the fact is that the federation is currently struggling financially after running the long-term training programme for the talented swimmers,’ Saif added.