Muhammad Samshuzzaman Arafat’s commendable feat at Ironman 70.3
Muhammad Samshuzzaman Arafat made a record by being the only runner to cover the 1004 km from Teknaf to Tetulia. The Bangladeshi triathlete has made his country proud with his prolific performances at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. The event was held in St.George, Utah USA on 18th September, 2021. This year, there were 3555 contenders from 80 countries around the world.
"I am the Assistant Director for Bangladesh Bank by profession. But by my passion, I want to promote sports in my country, and engage more young people in global sporting events. I started preparing as an athlete when I was a student at Dhaka University," says Arafat. "I tried to bring out the best version of myself, which led me to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I feel proud to represent Bangladesh in the biggest stage for triathlon."
The Ironman triathlon consists of swimming 2.4 miles (3.8 km), cycling 112 miles (180 km), and running 26.2 miles (42.2 km). Arafat rose to the challenge and completed all three of the sports in five hours, fifteen minutes and forty-three seconds. Interestingly, this is much less than what his target time was. Among the 288 people in his category, he earned the 153rd place. Bangladeshis were present at the event to cheer him on.
Arafat trained for 7 years to become fit for this event. He also participated in Ironman Malaysia 2017, Ironman European Championship 2019, Ironman Malaysia 2019, and Ironman 70.3 Bangsaen, Thailand. He successfully achieved his target times in all of these events.
"I am surrounded by so many great people, who continuously push me to overcome my limits, and do my best. My wife always encourages me to train well. My friends help me to overcome my difficulties," adds Arafat. "So many worked behind the scenes as a team, so that I could attend this championship. So, I want to keep working hard, and improving myself."
Furthermore, Arafat swam across the Bangla channel seven times and took part in various other marathons at home and abroad.
"I want to see more athletes representing Bangladesh in global stages. We still do not have any title from the Olympics. I want to inspire youngsters to join sports, and improve the culture of sports in my country," adds Arafat.
Meghna Group of Industries (MGI), Akash DTH, Honda Bangladesh-DHS Motors and Bangladesh Finance Limited provided financial support to Arafat in this championship.
The author is a freelance journalist.