The Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) has finally reduced the number of disciplines and athletes from the Bangladesh squad for the upcoming Asian Games, excluding nine disciplines in which Bangladesh failed to perform to expectation in the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
After the exclusion, Bangladesh will be taking part in 12 disciplines in the 17th edition of the Asian athletic extravaganza with the participation of 125 athletes and 39 team officials. The number of initial athletes and official were 220.
“Of 10 disciplines Bangladesh participated in at the Commonwealth Games, we performed well in only one discipline -- shooting -- but nine others failed to perform as per our expectations.
“So today's (Wednesday) meeting has decided to keep shooting intact and drop those nine disciplines from the initial 21 disciplines for the Asian Games squad,” said BOA secretary general Syed Shahed Reza after an emergency meeting of the executive committee at the BOA Bhaban yesterday.
Athletics, boxing, badminton, cycling, swimming, table tennis, wrestling, gymnastic and weightlifting have been axed while archery, fencing, golf, shooting, karate, taekwondo, beach volleyball, ushu, football, cricket (men's and women's), hockey and kabaddi (men's and women's) have been given a chance to justify their worth in the Asian Games which will be held in Incheon, Korea from September 19 to October 4.
“It is an unprecedented decision which was taken spontaneously with the presence of the general secretaries of those disciplines and no one opposed the decision. I think all federation officials will now be more active in running their respective federations in a bid to consider their athletes for future Games,” said Reza.
However, the BOA secretary general said they would soon formulate a policy regarding Bangladesh's participation in international meets such as the Olympics, Asian and Commonwealth Games while giving maximum exposure to all athletes in regional games such as the South Asian Games and the Indo-Bangla Games.
“We will identify which disciplines are capable of competing at international level and find out the actual gaps between our athletes and top-class athletes and take the necessary steps to bridge the gaps,” said Reza.
Currently, the BOA is bearing the wages of foreign coaches and players of four disciplines which have been brought under the BOA's special training since February in a bid to produce good results in Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
Some federation officials, whose disciplines were dropped from the Asian Games squad, expressed their grief outside the meeting and said that this decision would have a devastating impact on sports.