The Bangladeshi swimming contingent in Tokyo - comprising M Ariful Islam and Junayna Ahmed-- each bowed out Friday during the heats on their first day at the Tokyo Aquatic Center, but not before recording their personal best times - a sign that athletes are improving, and worth persisting with.
Ariful Islam, who had the honour of carrying the Bangladesh national flag in the opening ceremony of the Games, finished 3rd in heat number 4 of the Men 's 50-metres Freestyle. He finished with a time of 24.81 seconds, shaving eleven-hundredths of a second off his previous best of 24.92 seconds, that he swam in the World Swimming Championship in South Korea in 2019.
Ariful was placed 51st among 73 competitors for the event.
The 22-year-old Navy swimmer from Nikli of Kishoreganj trained in Paris under an IOC scholarship to prepare himself for the Olympics. Posting the personal best should encourage him to improve further.
The other member of the swim team, 18-year-old Junayna Ahmed, finished 5th in heat number 3 of the Women's 50-metre Freestyle, coming up for air with a time of 29.78 seconds.
It placed her 68th out of 83 competitors, but again it proved a personal best, and in her case by a long way - over one second faster than her previous best.
That too came in the World Swimming Championship in South Korea in 2019, when she swam the 50m Free in 30.96 seconds.
The Bangladeshi-origin London-based swimmer improved her timing by a full 1.18 seconds.
After the day's swimming event, five out of the six Bangladeshi athletes at the Games --archer Ruman Shana, Diya Siddique, shooter Abdullah Hel Baki swimmers Ariful Islam and Junaina Ahmed-- have completed their Tokyo Olympics assignments.
Now only Jahir Raihan remains, when he competes in the men's 400 meter sprint, with the heats on Sunday (Aug 1).