Abul Kashem Mamun is only a step away from fulfilling Bangladesh's expectation in the Asian Archery Championship 2017 as the compound archer became the only participant from the host nation to reach the quarter-finals after beating a couple of better-ranked opponents in the elimination round Tuesday.
The memory of Bangabandhu National Stadium will not fade from Mamun's memory anytime soon as his score of 149 against Weng I-Cheng in the 1/16 elimination round was dubbed as a "world record' performance by his coach Nisith Das, and not to mention Bangladesh's best individual result in the international event.
The most highlighted archer Ruman Shana, who finished fifth in the last edition in Bangkok two years ago, has seen the exit door from the recurve men's individual 1/8 elimination round after a close fight against Li Yen-Yu of Chinese Taipei, losing the game 6-4 while Mohammad Tamimul Islam lost to second-ranked Korean archer Lee Woo-seok 7-3 in the same event's 1/16 elimination round.
Mamun's terrific form continued to the next round as well and his 146 in the 1/8 elimination round was close enough to beat Kazakhstan archer Akbarali Karabayev by one point, which took him to the quarter-finals in his debut participation in the Asian Archery Championship. Mamun was ranked 23rd in the qualification round while Weng and Akbarali were placed seventh and 10th respectively.
In the past, the majority of Bangladesh's successes came from the recurve events and none of the archers managed to finish among the top 10 in the last edition's compound men's individual event. Mamun's performance in that sense provided Bangladesh glimpse of broader hope for the future. "I can't remember quite well when I scored 149 points last time, perhaps during practice session sometime last year. I think I'm a lucky man," said an excited Mamun soon after his feat.
Along with the host, three Indians, three Koreans and one Thai archer reached the quarter-finals of that event and Mamun's next opponent Wednesday will be India's Abhishek Verma, who was placed second in the ranking round earlier in the day. Mamun admitted it will be a tough contest but is also looking forward, saying, "Nothing is impossible anymore."
Bangladesh's long-time Indian coach Nisith explained Mamun's brilliant feat. He said, "Out of 160 points from 16 arrows, Mamun's 149 can be referred as a world record. It is not only his best performance but the world's best archers usually score similar points to win gold medals." He also praised Mamun's temperament throughout the event, reminding that his best score during training was 145.
The 24-year old Mamun is currently ranked 316th in the world and his career best points tally is 135 which he achieved five years ago.