Hosts Bangladesh emerged champions in the 2nd ISSF International Solidarity Archery Championships after compound archers sealed the show on the final day at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.
Bangladesh had a good chance of surpassing previous edition's success of six gold medals but they had to be satisfied with only five out of the nine gold medals they competed for on the concluding day in windy conditions. Recurve archers frustrated by bagging only one gold medal in four finals after compound archers had given them a great start by winning four out of five finals.
Bangladesh won gold in men's individual compound, women's individual compound, men's team compound and women's team compound but lost the mixed compound event in the morning to leave the onus on the recurve archers.
Women's compound team, comprising Roksana Akter, Bonna Akter and Ritu Akter, easily beat Morocco by 216-152 points to deliver the first gold while men's compound team, featuring Ashim Kumar Das, Abul Kashem Mamum and Ashikuzzaman Anoy, ensured the second gold with an emphatic 225-205 point win over Iraq, who however beat Bangladesh in mixed compound event by 146-143 points after Roksana hit just 5 out of 10 in one of her final shots.
Ashim delivered the third gold in an all-Bangladeshi final in men's compound by beating his more illustrious teammate Mamun by 140-134 points before Roksana unexpectedly beat last edition's gold medallist Fatimah Al Mashhadani of Iraq by 136-133 points amid strong winds.
However, disappointment followed soon as the recurve archers, the main concentration of Bangladesh's archery in their bid to winning an Olympic medal, lost three finals in men's individual recurve, women's recurve team and mixed recurve. Men's recurve team restored some pride after beating minnows Nepal in 5-1 sets.
Women's recurve team lost to Azerbaijan in 5-4 sets despite taking the lead twice, thanks to poor performance by Nasrin Akter, who could not hit the board in tiebreaking set while the mixed team suffered 5-1 sets defeat against Turkey, again due to poor shots from Nasrin.
Men's recurve team, however, did not face any problem to beat Nepal in 5-1 sets to win the fifth gold medal but Roman Sana, the country's best archer, lost the men's individual recurve event in 7-1 sets against Abdalelah Binali of Saudi Arabia.
Despite those disappointments, Bangladesh finished with five gold, five silver and one bronze medal, followed by Iraq who won one gold, two silver and one bronze medal.
“I am not happy with some performance. Even though there were some tough matches especially in recurve events, there is no excuse and we have to work more with the archers,” Bangladesh coach Martin Frederick said.
“Our archers are good and have ability to perform but we have to improve in the finals. I have been here for only three months and now I know the level of the archers and what I have to do,” said the German, who was, however, surprised to learn that Bangladesh Archery Federation has set a target of winning at least a medal in the 2020 Olympics.
“Winning a medal in the 2020 Olympics is not realistic. Bangladesh is not in a situation to win a medal in Olympics. We will try to make own qualification for Olympic Games and that is the goal,” said the 50-year-old.