Hosts Bangladesh will compete for nine gold medals in 10 events of the 2nd ISSF International Solidarity Archery Championships as the local archers continued their dominance on the third day at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.
Out of the nine finals, the local archers had to overcome semifinal hurdles in five events -- men's recurve individual, men's recurve team and recurve mixed team, men's compound individual and women's compound individual -- while the hosts directly entered four other finals -- women's recurve team, men's compound team, women's compound team and mixed compound -- after finishing top in the qualification rounds.
It was pleasing to see that the hosts had ensured their spot in the finals in men's recurve and mixed recurve events, which they failed to do in the last edition, but disappointingly Bangladesh failed to make it to the final of the women's recurve event where they had bagged a gold medal during the inaugural edition last year.
Some Bangladeshi archers easily overcame their semifinal hurdles while others fought neck-and-neck before going down, especially in individual events.
The country's number one archer Roman Sana handed a 6-2 sets defeat to Estonia's Mart Oona to set up the men's recurve final clash against Iraq's Abdalelah Binali, who had to sweat it out to beat Bangladesh's Tamimul Islam in 6-4 sets in the other semifinal. Tamimul later lost in 6-4 sets to Oona in the bronze-medal deciding match.
Nasrin Akter suffered a 6-0 sets defeat against Turkey's Begunhan Unsal, who will play the women's recurve final against Reena Parvant. Nasrin later lost against Tajikistan's Tagaeva Zukhore in 6-2 sets in the bronze-medal deciding match.
Bangladesh men's recurve team, comprising Roman, Tamimul and Ibrahim Sheikh, beat Iraq in 5-1 sets to set up the final against Nepal while Bangladesh's mixed recurve team beat Kyrgyzstan in 6-2 sets to set up the final against Turkey.
In the men's compound event, Ashim Kumar Das beat compatriot Milon Mollah by 141-138 points to set up an all-Bangladeshi final against Abul Kashem Mamun, who outplayed Iraq's Waleed Hameed by 140-133 points. Milon, who had won a bronze medal in the SA Archery Championships in March, had to be content with a fourth-place finish after losing by 136-132 points to Waleed in the bronze-medal deciding match.
Roksana Aktar beat last edition's silver medallist Bonna Akter by 143-138 points in the women's compound to set up the final against last edition's gold medallist, Iraq's Fatimah Al Mashhadani, who beat Emily Hoim of Estonia. Bonna later beat Hoim by 139-137 points to win the bronze medal.
Bangladesh coach Martin Frederick was not thinking about the number of gold medals, rather he was happy to see his charges move into nine finals.
“If the boys and girls can keep their nerve in the final, they have a good chance of winning gold medals,” Frederick said. “Roman is performing marvellously without any pressure but Tamimul took a lot of pressure to lose both the semifinal and bronze medal matches.”
The archers themselves are optimistic about delivering the maximum number of gold medals on the final day.
“Making it to the finals is big achievement for the archers. I am happy with the way I am performing and my target will be fulfilled if I can win the gold medal. My target is to win three gold medals – individual, team and mixed compound events,” said Abul Kashem Mamun.
“Following the failure in the last edition, I was determined to produce a good performance and this time I have reached the finals in three events -- individual, team and mixed compound. Fatimah is a strong opponent, but my focus will be on winning the on the individual final,” said Roksana.