The 29th National Age Level Athletics Championship will begin on June 2 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium with more than 600 athletes taking part in the two-day meet.
The Bangladesh Athletics Federation has received Tk 3.5 lakh from title sponsor Walton which will also provide an additional Tk 1.5 lakh for the meet’s branding and advertisement purpose, it was informed by the federation officials at a press conference on Thursday. The BAF is planning to scout talented athletes from the competition for intense training.
The athletes will take part in the meet divided into two categories. The contestants, who are aged between 16 and 17 years, will participate in the boys’ and girls’ category while the 18 to 19-year old competitors will take part in the youth category.
‘It is an age group meet, so we will not go for electronic timing,’ said Ibrahim Chengis, general secretary of the BAF.
BAF president SM Ali Kabir claimed that after the vicious attack by the Hefazat-e-Islam supporters, the electronic timing system was damaged seriously but they are trying to repair it before the meet gets underway.
Ibrahim stated that he was responsible for finding out a good number of star athletes like Abdullah Hel Kafi, Nazmunnahar Beauty, Shamsunnahar Chumki and Sumita Rani through a talent hunt programme in 2001 when he was the general secretary for the first time.
‘I organised a talent hunt programme in 2001 and a large number of national athletes like Kafi, Beauty, Chumki and Sumita came up through this programme. Now they are the nation’s best athletes,’ Ibrahim said.
However, it was learnt that Beauty, Chumki and Sumita were actually discovered by renowned athletics coach, Rafiqul Islam Milon.
Ibrahim pointed out that the previous committee did not organise any talent hunt programme.
‘The previous committee did not put their concentration on discovering gifted athletes from the grass-root level, so now there is an acute crisis of talented athletes. We are trying to offer proper training for the selected athletes provided we can manage funds,’ Ibrahim added.
Meanwhile, the record breaking athletes will be awarded by Walton and the four fastest youth athletes of the nation will receive Tk 5,000 each from Ibrahim Chengis, who wished to give the prize money from his personal funds.
-With New Age input