Two athletes seek long overdue recognition

Published : 09 May 2024 09:28 PM

Following Imranur Rahman's gold medal at the 2023 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships, Bangladeshi athletes continued their impressive run this year. Zaheer Raihan secured a silver medal in the 400m race, while Mahfuzur Rahman took home a bronze in the high jump competition. While Imran was promptly recognized and financially rewarded by the athletics federation last year, Zaheer and Mahfuz haven't received their due recognition yet, despite returning home with medals in February.

The Asian Indoor Athletics Championships were held in February, where Bangladeshi athletes shone. Zaheer Raihan's silver in the 400m and Mahfuzur Rahman's bronze in the high jump brought hope and pride to the nation. Upon their return on February 20th, they were welcomed with a warm ceremony at Bangabandhu Stadium.

However, beyond the initial celebration, there hasn't been any follow-up from the federation. It's a harsh reality that in Bangladesh, with the exception of cricket and football, most sports federations struggle financially. Athletes in these disciplines often rely on international medals for financial security. The two-month delay in recognizing Zaheer and Mahfuz's achievements has understandably caused some disappointment.

The federation's General Secretary, Abdur Rakib Montu, assures that the athletes will be honored, but discussions with the president regarding a date are ongoing.

Previously, Bangladesh had a barren run at the Asian athletics level. So, Imranur Rahman's gold medal in 2023 was a groundbreaking achievement, earning him a grand reception within 11 days. He received a cash prize of Tk 10 lakh from the federation, followed by an additional Tk 5 lakh from NRBC Bank. His affiliation with the Army and the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) further bolstered his financial support.

This year's medal wins by Zaheer and Mahfuz serve as a reminder to the federation. In the past two years, there seems to have been a focus on Imran due to his expatriate status in England. As a result, the athletes anticipated special training and coaching arrangements after their success. However, two months later, things remain unchanged. They continue to train under their respective organisations.