Bangladesh's ace archer Ruman Shana in action during his World Archery Championship campaign in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. -Collected
In a country that has seen cricket and football dominate the sporting headlines for many years, other sports have found it difficult to attain as much recognition and hence do not find as many followers.
Cricket is now the most popular sport of the country and its national team often bring some remarkable moments for the country. Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) put cricket ahead, by injecting huge money, BPL glamour and razzamatazz. The country has produced many stars in cricket but have just a handful in other sports - Archery being one of those.
When cricket-mad Bangladeshi peoples go crazy to support their cricket teams in the ongoing ICC World Cup, Bangladeshi ace-archer Ruman Shana brought a memorable moment for the country when he became the first archer from Bangladesh to qualify a place to the Olympic Games when he beat two-time world champion Kim Woojin in the fourth round of the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.
"I'm really so happy. I targeted to get a spot in Tokyo Olympic and finally the dream has come true. The Korean competitor was so strong and even I lost twice in previous meets but my shooting is very well today (Thursday)." Ruman told Asian Age on Saturday.
The Archery world championships are the primary qualification event for the archery competitions at Tokyo 2020. Earlier last week, Bangladesh faced top-seeded Korea in a third-round match that would award a team quota to the Games. Korea won, 6-2. But Ruman still had a chance to qualify an individual place.
On his way to the semifinals of recurve men's individual event, Roman continued spectacular performance in the tournament in the pre-quarterfinals and quarterfinal as he outplayed Sjef Van Den Berg of Netherland by 6-2 set points in the quarterfinal match before beating gold medalist of 2011 World Archery Championships, Kim Woojin of South Korea, by 6-4 set points in the pre quarterfinal.
Shana suffered defeat in the semifinal by Malaysia's Khairul Anuar Mohamad but he already confirmed his quota place for Olympics 2020. Ruman will fight for the bronze medal against Italian Mauro Nespoli today. Playing at the semi-finals is also the best ever performance by any Bangladeshi at the world's top archery competition."I am now in relaxed but I have to work hard before Olympic. I will play some upcoming tournaments as a part of Olympic preparation." Ruman said.
Not only famed archer Ruman continues Archery success for Bangladesh in recent time, he put the sport of archery on a different pedestal, from where he inspired a number of youngsters to take up the sport as career. In terms of population size, there is no worse Olympic performer than Bangladesh.
Despite being home to nearly 160 million people, nobody from Bangladesh has ever even qualified for the Olympics before and Ruman is the second Bangladeshi athlete to qualify the Olympics directly after ace golfer Siddikur Rahman. Siddikur earned the Olympic quota for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Bangladesh is among the 75 countries out of 206 which have not yet managed to claim a spot on the Olympic medal table. The second most populous country which has never been able to secure an Olympic medal is Cambodia. Cambodia's population is 15.7 million, one-tenth of Bangladesh's population. Ruman Shana however aims to end Bangladesh's medal drought in Olympic.
"Every athlete dreams of taking part and doing well in the Olympics and that's my aim as well. If I can perform the way I'm doing currently, I hope I will be able to bring medal for the country."
So far Bangladesh has sent a total of 43 athletes in nine Olympics since 1984 Los Angeles Olympic. The best performance came with the hand of golfer Siddiqur Rahman who clinched his spot in Rio by finishing 55th out of 60 in the final qualifying round. The Tokyo Olympic is scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020.
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