On the 16th of December 1971, Bangladesh became an independent country. Glorious independence was achieved after a 9-month bloodbath with Pakistan and is celebrating its 50 years of victory in 2021. Apart from establishing East Pakistan as an independent state, Bangladesh has a significant challenge in making it an economically and socially reliant country. To this aim, Bangladesh has made significant progress in a variety of fields over the past five decades, and sports is no exception. Let's take a look at Bangladesh's significant sporting successes in 50 years of victory.
50 years of victory: What has Bangladesh achieved in the field of sports?
Ha-du-du, popularly known as Kabaddi is Bangladesh's national sport. There has been some significant international success in Kabaddi. Cricket has overtaken football as the most popular sport in the country in the last two decades, despite football being the most popular for the first three decades following independence. Cricket has become the national thing in Bangladesh as a result of its international success. In team sports, field hockey also has had some success. Besides, Bangladeshi athletes have achieved international success in individual sports. Here are some of Bangladesh's noteworthy international sporting accomplishments.
Only a handful of nations play Kabaddi outside South Asia because it's most popular in the Indian sub-continent. Therefore, Bangladesh does not face significant international competition. Yet, the Bangladesh Kabaddi team has never won a gold medal in a major tournament. They had to settle for silver and bronze medals the majority of the time. Bangladesh's greatest achievements in Kabaddi were in the World Cups in 2004 and 2007. They came in third place in both tournaments. Apart from that, Bangladesh won silver at the Asian Games in 1990, 1994, and 2002.
Football is now Bangladesh's second-most popular sport, after only cricket. The majority of Bangladesh's men's football success in the last five decades came in the 1980s and 1990s. However, the Bangladesh Women's Football team has made significant improvements in recent years. Here are some notable achievements in both men's and women's football in Bangladesh.
The greatest success of Bangladesh's men's national football team was winning the SAFF Championship in 2003. The national team also won a gold medal in the 2010 South Asian Games. Besides, Bangladesh also won the President's Gold Cup in 1989 and the four nations Tiger Trophy in 1995.
In recent years, the Bangladesh Women's national football team has had more success than the Bangladesh Men's national football team. Bangladesh's women's team took silver in the 2016 SAFF Women's Championship and bronze in the 2010 and 2016 South Asian Games.
Field hockey was one of Bangladesh's most popular sports In the 1980s and 1990s, but it faded away as a result of poor international performance. Bangladesh's national men's hockey team won bronze medals in the 1995, 2010, and 2016 South Asian Games. Apart from that, one of the greatest achievements for the national team was coming fifth in the 1982 Asia Cup.
After winning the 1997 ICC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur, cricket has eclipsed all other sports in Bangladesh in terms of popularity. After winning the competition, Bangladesh qualified for the 1999 ICC One-Day International World Cup. Since then, Bangladesh has participated in all of the main ICC competitions on a regular basis. On the other side, Bangladesh's women's team recently qualified for the ICC ODI World Cup 2022. Here are some important achievements in Bangladeshi cricket, both men's and women's.
Cricket has been Bangladesh's most significant sporting achievement. Bangladesh's cricket team was awarded Test status in 2000, and they have since defeated some of the world's best teams in the format. The two biggest Test victories for Bangladesh's men's national team came against England in 2016 and Australia in 2017. Bangladesh's greatest performance in any ICC event was reaching the semifinals of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. Apart from that, Bangladesh was runner-up in the 2012, 2016, and 2018 Asia Cup.
Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh has been regularly named the world's best all-rounder. He is regarded as one of the finest all-rounders in history. Aside from national team success, the Bangladesh U19 team won the 2020 ICC U19 World Cup, widely regarded as the country's greatest sporting feat.
The women's national team of Bangladesh stunned the world by winning the Asia Cup 2018 in Malaysia. They defeated a strong Indian side by three wickets in the final. The Women's team rose to prominence after winning the Asia Cup, and they have continued to make improvements since then. They also took home a gold medal at the South Asian Games in 2019. The women's team has won a number of bilateral series against some of the world's best teams. The ICC granted Bangladesh's women's team full Test and ODI status in April 2021.
Handball, volleyball, basketball, and rugby are among the other ball sports federations in Bangladesh. However, neither of these sports has had any notable international success. The Bangladesh Men's Volleyball team earned silver in a tournament hosted in Pakistan in 2009 and the Bangladesh Basketball team took bronze in the South Asian Games in 2010. Meanwhile, Rugby is a relatively new sport in Bangladesh. Winning the Bowl final of the 2018 Asia Rugby Sevens Series has been the best achievement for the Bangladesh Rugby team.
Bangladesh has a variety of combat sports. Karate has been the most successful of them all. Bangladesh has won seven gold medals in karate in the South Asian Games thus far. Taekwondo, on the other hand, is the most popular combat sport in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Taekwondo team won two gold medals in the 2009 Open International Taekwondo Championships in Seoul, as well as a few gold medals at the South Asian Games.
Golf has gradually become a popular sport in Bangladesh after Siddikur Rahman won the 2010 Brunei Open, becoming the first Bangladeshi golfer to win an Asian Tour tournament. Siddikur also made history by being the first Bangladeshi to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. He finished 58th in the main event of the 2016 Olympics. Siddikur also won the Hero Indian Open in 2013.
Bangladesh has had some success in chess and produced a number of grandmasters over the years. Niaz Murshed, Ziaur Rahman, Reefat Bin-Sattar, Abdullah Al Rakib, and Enamul Hossain are among them. Niaz Murshed is the first South Asian to be honored as a Grandmaster. Women International Masters from Bangladesh include Rani Hamid and Shamima Akter Liza. Rani Hamid is a three-time winner of the British Women's Chess Championship and the country's first Women International Master.
Archery has been the most successful individual sport for Bangladesh. In the 1990 Commonwealth Games, Ateequr Rahman and Abdus Sattar won Gold in the Men's Air Pistol - Pair event, while Shooter Asif Hossain Khan won Gold in the Men's Air Rifle event in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Bangladesh has also won four silver medals and two bronze medals in Commonwealth tournaments. Apart from that, Bangladesh won many Gold medals at the South Asian Games.
In Archery, Ruman Shana won bronze in the 2019 World Archery Championships, making him the first Bangladeshi archer to win a medal in an international tournament. Shana was also a gold medalist at the 2019 Asia Cup, which was held in the Philippines. During the 2021 Archery World Cup, Diya Siddique and Ruman Shana took silver in the recurve mixed team event.
Bangladesh has produced a number of talented athletes, swimmers, and weightlifters over the years. Bangladesh has consistently won international medals in these events. However, all of the success came in the South Asian Games. The Bangladesh Athletic Federation must take a more strategic plan to be successful at the Asian Games and the Olympics.
Tennis, Table Tennis, and Squash all have federations in Bangladesh. Bangladesh's best-ever Tennis achievement was reaching the semi-finals of the David Cup in the Asian/Oceania Zone group in 1989. Bangladesh earned a few medals in Table Tennis at the South Asian Games. Besides, Squash in Bangladesh has shown promise, although the country has yet to reach international success.
Culture and sports development are two indicators of a country's economic progress. Bangladesh has achieved success in both of these areas in the recent past. Particularly in sports, there have been some significant achievements, with cricket accounting for the majority of them. In addition to mainstream sports, the most important aspect is that Bangladeshi athletes are also succeeding in non-traditional sports.
Despite certain achievements to commemorate the 50 years of victory, Bangladesh still has a long way to go to reach the level of the top on the international stage. In such circumstances, Bangladesh's government should take the lead in establishing a professional sports infrastructure. Only afterward will it be possible to achieve the desired outcome on a worldwide platform.