Vol. 5 Num 848 Fri. October 13, 2006  

Asif ponders returning his C'wealth gold

Selling gold medals or precious trophies for sportsmen to make ends meet at old age is nothing new in this country.

But if someone who has yet to turn 20 begins to think about giving up his pride possession, one has to wonder what's going on his mind.

Severely tortured and humiliated by police, country's one of the top athletes Asif Hossain Khan is contemplating to return his Commonwealth Games gold medal to the authority.

Also a South Asian Games gold medallist shooter, Asif told the Daily Star over phone last night that he has been thinking about giving up his 10m air rifle shooting Commonwealth Games gold medal -- won at the Manchester Games in 2002 as a 15-year-old -- since the police cruelly beat him up and his mates on October 2.

"May be it was not meant for me (the medal). If I was entitled to it, the police would have recognised me or would have not beat me up even after I gave them my identity," said Asif, who is still under treatment at the Metropolitan Hospital.

"They did not hesitate for a moment. I think I never deserved such a behaviour from the law enforcing agency," said Asif, who shot to fame after winning an individual gold medal at the Bisley Shooting Range in Surrey four years earlier.

"It's a very tough decision to give up something so precious. But I have been thinking to contact the Commonwealth Games organisers through the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) and let them know about my decision," he added.

When asked, he said that he would discuss this with all his family members before making an announcement.

Asif's condition was yet to improve and he felt pain under his feet, especially during last week's full moon.

"I have been taking sedative for the last few days and on the night of the full moon, the pain was unbearable. Still, I cannot walk properly due to pain."

Asif and Shoebuzzaman both had their first physiotherapy session yesterday at another hospital in Mohakhali. The other injured shooter, Ali Hossain Shipu, was due to have an operation on a broken finger last night.

It seemed that the National Shooting Federation (NSF), criticised for delaying in taking steps to send the injured shooters abroad, finally woke up and took the Asif's passport to make arrangements for better treatment in Bangkok.

It was learned that the NSF has sought the help of BOA regarding this matter.

Other than giving financial help, the BOA officials must have to try convince Asif not to give up one of the most prestigious medals won by a sportsman, who is not only going to miss the Asian Games in Doha next December but also unlikely to take a rifle in hand in six months.

Asif Hossain Khan