Athletics’ decline continues

November 9, 2013

The Bangladesh Olympic Association left out athletics from its first-phase training programme, citing the underperformance of athletes in recent international meets.
Earlier, the BOA decided to bring 30 talented athletes under a 10-month long training programme to improve their performance in international tournaments like the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games scheduled to be held next year.
The BOA ruled out athletics from the shortlist, instead selecting swimming, shooting, archery, boxing and taekwondo for the first-phase of the programme.
The Bangladesh Athletics Federation has also shown a lack of interest in sending its athletes to the first-phase programme due to some mediocre displays in the past.
‘The athletes failed to bring any remarkable international success in the last five or six years,’ said Wing Commander Rafiqul Islam, member secretary of the BOA’s training and development committee on Friday.
‘We have a plan to include the athletes in our second-phase training camp if the government provide financial assistance,’ he added.
Mezbah Ahmed, who became the fastest man in the country at the eighth Bangladesh Games earlier this year, participated in the World Athletics Championship in Russia in August but failed to match his best time in the 100-metre event.
Mezbah clocked 11.23 seconds in Russia, short of personal best of 10.75 seconds in the Bangladesh Games.
Mezbah, however, pointed out that he did not get sufficient time to prepare ahead of the meet in Russia.
‘I didn’t get enough time to prepare myself for the meet so my performance level decreased,’ said the Bangladesh Navy athlete, who is now preparing for the inter-services competition.
Mezbah went on to express his disappointment after being overlooked by the BOA for the first-phase training programme.
‘Besides myself, all the other athletes who began their career in recent times were also very sad about the decision. Maybe the BOA snubbed the athletics discipline after assessing our previous performances so we have nothing to say,’ said Mezbah.
‘But I still believe that if we get the opportunity we will perform better in the international arena,’ he added.
Sumita Rani, one of the best 100m hurdlers in the country, was also upset with the decision taken by the BOA.
‘In my career, I didn’t get that many opportunities to go for long-term preparation. The BOA has undertaken a good initiative for the athletes but it was frustrating for us not to get the chance,’ said Sumita, who brought back one of the two track and field silver medals from the 2010 South Asian Games.
‘It was proven in the SA Games that if we get the opportunity to prepare for a long time then we very well have the potential to bring medals for the nation,’ she added.
National coach Farid Khan Chowdhury admitted that the athletics discipline is on the wane due to a lack of interest among the concerned authorities.
‘It was a bad signal for athletics and it is clear that the game is gradually sinking. But there are some talented athletes who have a bright chance of performing well if they get better preparation,’ said the former athlete, adding that, ‘we didn’t get a suitable answer as to why the BOA overlooked athletics.’
In the absence of BAF general secretary Ibrahim Chengis, all the other officials of the athletics governing body failed to contact the BOA to include athletics in the shortlist.
Chengis has been in Canada since the first week of September due to personal reasons and nobody was able to say when he would return.
‘The general secretary [Chengis] is now in Canada and I don’t know when he will come back,’ said
Tofazzal Hossain, acting general secretary of the BAF.
‘I myself have returned recently after performing Hajj, so all the other officials failed to contact with the BOA. Now I will talk with the secretary general of the BOA in order to include athletics in the shortlist,’ he added.

-Input from New Age

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