A 595-member contingent from Bangladesh, including officials and coaches as well as 263 male and 199 female athletes from 25 disciplines, are set to participate in the biggest multi-sports extravaganza of the region, scheduled to be held in Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal, from December 1-10
The Bangladesh Olympic Association is hopeful the country can win more medals at the upcoming 13th South Asian Games than in the previous edition, where Bangladesh won 75 medals, including four golds.
A 595-member contingent from Bangladesh, including officials and coaches as well as 263 male and 199 female athletes from 25 disciplines, are set to participate in the biggest multi-sports extravaganza of the region, scheduled to be held in Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal, from December 1-10.
“The number of medals could increase in all events,” BOA secretary general Syed Shahed Reza said during a press conference at BOA Auditorium Saturday.
“The preparations began six months ago even though we did not receive the full funding from the government. No other south Asian country managed this,” he added.
Reza said their approximate budget was Tk30 crores for the mega event, including Tk19.5 crores for training purposes and the rest for participants’ expenses.
However, the BOA received just Tk15 crores from the National Sports Council.
India is set to skip 10 disciplines this time around, including archery, golf, cricket, tennis, table tennis, karate, taekwondo and wrestling.
Yearlong training facility, financial assurances to athletes, domestic competitions throughout the year & sending top athletes abroad are required to bridge the gap between Bangladesh & other leading countries in south Asia, discussed a seminar on SAGhttps://t.co/3FYhYB5Vys#BOA— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) November 19, 2019
When asked whether this would increase Bangladesh’s chances of winning medals, Reza said: “We never thought about who is participating or who is not. We are focused on ensuring that our athletes are as prepared as possible.”
The highest number of medals that Bangladesh managed at an SA Games was 97, including 18 golds, in 2010.
When asked if the country could match the figure this time around, Reza said: “That SA Games was on home soil, so we had more of an advantage. We also prepared for one year before the SA Games 2010, as opposed to six months this time.”
Among the individual events, 24 Bangladeshi athletes will be taking part in fencing, while the others are in athletics (22), archery (16), badminton (12), boxing (nine), cycling (14), karate (23), golf (seven), judo (14), shooting (21), squash (four), swimming (21), table tennis (10), taekwondo (20), tennis (eight), weightlifting (14), wrestling (14) and wushu (17).
The team events Bangladesh will be participating are cricket (30), football (20), volleyball (30), handball (32), basketball (26), kabaddi (24) and kho kho (30).
Both men's and women's team will take part in all disciplines except football, where only men's team will be participating.
This is the first time that the BOA decided to send a female official for every discipline along with the female athletes.
BOA deputy secretary general and Bangladesh Handball Federation general secretary Asaduzzaman Kohinoor will lead the contingent as the chef de mission, while joint secretary of the Youth and Sports Ministry and BOA member Mohammad Omar Faruk, and Bangladesh Judo Federation senior vice president Syeda Jannat Ara will serve as deputy chefs de mission.
Swimmer Mahfuza Khatun Shila, the double gold medalist of the 2016 SA Games, will be the flag bearer.
Swimmers were the first to arrive in Nepal last week, followed by the cycling team.
The volleyball team will leave Bangladesh Monday, and their events will begin two days later.
The shooting team will leave Wednesday, a day before the badminton side.
The cricket, karate and kho kho teams will leave Friday, one day before the table tennis, wushu, taekwondo and tennis players.
Other teams will leave according to their events schedules.