Though the going had been tough for budding athletes participating in their respective events of the inaugural Bangladesh Youth Games at the Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Indoor Stadium, the shuttlers and table tennis players enjoyed every moment of yesterday, despite all the air-conditioners being switched off.
The wooden floor was divided into two parts -- one side for table tennis and the other for badminton – and the athletes could be seen sweating profusely during their respective matches. However, none of them seemed hindered by the heat as they fought till the last to show their talents.
Just like the swimming events, trained and experienced players dominated across all the table tennis and badminton fixtures, save a couple of games where those players lacked the experience to play at the top level.
Out of 32 boys there were nine promising players, trained at the BKSP, representing their respective districts while a good number of boys and girls who were unearthed through the talent hunt programme, conducted by the National Sports Council last year, were also participating.
In the boy's single table tennis encounter between two national junior champions -- Hridoy of Rangpur division and Sabbir of Khulna division -- Hridoy won the gold 3-0 while national senior championship semifinalist Sadia Rahman Mou of Khulna division beat Tushi, who is from the same division, 3-1 to win gold in the girl's single event.
All the medals across six events -- three each for boys and girls – went to athletes who have already been playing in the youth and national championships as well as the leagues in Dhaka. Therefore, there was no one to pick out in particular from these games.
“Table tennis is a game where an unidentified player can't upset trained players because players improve step by step,” said table tennis coach-cum-judge Hafizur Rahman yesterday.
However, he added that there are a few promising players such as Emon, Rahim Leon, Hridoy, Mou, Tushi and Asha, who can improve significantly if provided better training in the future.
Likewise, trained shuttlers dominated the badminton scene as Sylhet's national under-18champion Lokman and Chittagong's national U-15 champion Sibgat moved into the boy's single final. U-18 champion Urmi Akter of Khulna and U-15 champion Jerin also moved into the girl's single final.
However, Bangladesh Badminton Federation joint secretary Zahidul Haque Kochi was not happy with the results from badminton as the recognised juniors dominated the show.
“The Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) should make an idea of how to bring up the talent from grass-root levels but they did not consult with us. Badminton has some pockets from where a lot shuttlers are coming but the BOA has allowed only the divisional champions to take part in the badminton event, thus paving the way for a one-sided affair. If the divisional runners-up were also allowed, then the competition would have been more competitive and we would have gotten some new players,” said Kochi, adding that the difference between the trained and raw players is huge during competitions.