Taekwondoin Dipu Chakma brought smiles to the faces of his countrymen by clinching the first gold medal for Bangladesh at the 13th South Asian Games 2nd December (Monday).
Dipu’s precious gold came in the 29+ age category of the individual poomsae event, which has been included in the Games for the first time this year. Earlier, the Bangladesh Army athlete from Rangamati had been tagged as one of the best in the event in South Asia by the Taekwondo Federation.
During the previous SA Games in Shillong and Guwahati in 2016, Bangladesh’s first gold out of a total four came on the third day, through the hands of weightlifter Mabia Akter Shimanta. The early medal at this edition should give more confidence to the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) regarding their hopes of winning more medals than last time.
On the opening day of the taekwondo discipline at Satdobato Sports Complex, Bangladesh won six bronzes along with Dipu’s gold. Meanwhile, hosts Nepal won 14 golds.
The spotlight was on karate for Bangladesh’s first gold. However, soon after a disappointing show from karateka Hasan Khan, who finished third out of only four, Dipu beat opponents from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal to finish on top at the taekwondo venue.
Dipu began the event brightly with an impressive 8.28 points in the opening round, which made his second round score of 7.96 enough to seal the place at the top of the podium with a total 16.24 points. Lakshman Ilandarige of Sri Lanka came very close with 16.22 to win silver, while Gangphung Gangsa of India and Rejin Rimal of Nepal jointly won bronze.
“I am still in trance. I have no clue what is happening,” said an excited Dipu after the event.
“It is always a great pleasure to win gold for the country. I am really proud for representing Bangladesh,” he added.
Dipu was introduced to taekwondo in 2001, but he did not start practicing it until 2008. He continued the martial art after joining the army three years ago.
He has been the champion in the poomsae event at every national tournament since 2013. Dipu also said he has won five golds and one silver at various international tournaments, with the last in Malaysia three months ago.
Dipu expressed gratitude to BTF General Secretary Muhmudul Islam Rana and South Korean coach Min Hak Seo, who joined the national team 40 days ago. According to national team Army coach Muslim Mia as well as Min Hak, Dipu is one of the best in the team and the gold was reward for his hard work.