Nurturing Star Players
Moon Moon Sultana
Nodding her head Eti Islam, the young athlete and a promising Wushu (a Chinese type Kungfu) player expressed her life-long desire to become a player and nothing else in her life-time instead of establishing her career in so-called social, economic, administrative and education sector.
Being the youngest among ten children of late Ansar Commander Mofizul Islam, Eti had to stop going to school when she was in class-IV at Lama, the hill-town of Bandarban District. It was impossible for the poverty stricken family to provide necessary support for Eti to become a sportswoman.
It was her sister, Nurunnahar, who actually paved the way in 2002 when Eti visited Bangladesh Ansar-VDP Academy, Shafipur, Gazipur where her sister used to stay as a resident player. Pondering over her desire of becoming a player like her sister, little Eti used to watch her sister's Judo practice with great attention. She insisted that her sister get her a membership of the Bangladesh Ansar-VDP Sports Team (BAVST). Noticing her interest the concerned authority took over the responsibility of making a future star.
“Eti was a mere child of 9 or 10 when she first came at the Academy to her sister,” says Assistant Director (Ansar-Training) Humayun Kabir Khan. “Her zeal and enthusiasm captured our notice,” he adds.
Soon Eti turned into a sparkling star in the sports arena of Bangladesh. Although she started as a Judo player following her sister, the 'super woman' or 'super wonder' according to her fellow mates, gradually excelled in Taikoando, Kabadi, Karate, Wushu and Football. Participating for the first time, she won gold medal in the single event of Wushu in the 11th South Asian (SA) Games.
Promila football tournament.
When asked about the reason behind her success in Wushu, which is quite risky and an unusual sport for woman, Eti spontaneously replies, “All credit goes to the concerned officials of Ansar Department as well as my sincerity and hard work. I get enough scope here to practice in the morning and evening and the authority provides all necessary facilities including financial support and provision.”
Thus Bangladesh Ansar-VDP has become a trustworthy home for such talents across the country. With a view to maintaining unity and fraternity among the young, Bangladesh Ansar-VDP Organisation took the noble initiative of founding Bangladesh Ansar-VDP Sports Team (BAVST) in 1982. Sports activities patronised by the organisation, however started much earlier. Since the inception of Bangladesh Ansar in 1948 as a voluntary organisation, it has included millions of young people thanks to its organisational extension across the country through training activities and clubs and samitys (sports unions). “So, to keep this young generation away from anti-social activities, the clubs and samitys used to arrange games and tournaments in fits and starts,” says the out-going Deputy Director General (DDG) (Training) A K M Mizanur Rahman Khan.
“BAVST took a formal shape in 1982 and since then it has been performing the noble task of grooming sports stars by hunting talents through its organisational network across the country,” comments Khan who is now DDG, Operations.
Although it started with boxing, BAVST gradually flourished in as many as 29 disciplines with a total of 443 members (male-182, female-221) including 38 coaches (males-32 and females-6) The disciplines are athletics, basketball, cricket, cycling, football, golf, gymnastics, judo, handball, hockey, kabadi (with beach kabadi), karate, shooting, table-tennis, taekoando, volleyball (with beach volleyball), weight-lifting, wrestling, archery, body-building, fencing, arm-sports, wushu and boat-race etc.
The performance of these teams is very vivid to all of us. BAVST proved its quality and ingenuity in its ever first participation in the 4th Bangladesh Games (BG) in 1988 securing 3rd position. Later, BAVST gained BG Championship status for the three consecutive meets in the 5th (1992), 6th (1996) and 7th (2002) event organised by the Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA).
South Asian Games gold winners.
BAVST was awarded the country's highest gallantry honour, 'Swadhinata Purushkar' (Independence Award) in 2004 in recognition of its role in the advancement of sports of Bangladesh.
Ansar women's football team secured the honour of the first Champion in the 'Promila Football Tournament' in 2009, held for the first time and its female cricket team has won '2nd Promila Club Cup Cricket Tournament' very recently. The success in recently concluded '11th South Asian (SA) Games', '8th Commonwealth Games' in New Delhi, '3rd Indo-Bangladesh Games' in Kolkata, India has transcended BAVST's name and fame in the international sports arena crossing national boundaries.
BAVST grabbed 11 gold medals out of 18 summed up by 40 medals including silver and bronze out of 96 achieved by Bangladesh in the 11th SA Games.
“Regular practice, team-discipline, financial security, and performance-based ration including incentives during training camps are the key issues of such continuous success,” says AD (Ansar-Training) Humayun. Actually, someone has to boost the talent inside a player through taking care and looking after the welfare of the player's needs as well as his/her family.
Humayun says that he helped Eti to open a bank account with the prize money of TK 20,000 awarded by the Ansar-VDP Organisation.
According to the current shooting star Sharmin Akhter Ratna, 'Practice around the year is crucial for better performance and hence Ansar-VDP Department always takes care of providing necessary administrative and logistics support for regular practice, ' she said.
Ratna, a non-resident member of BAVST since 2005, who has not stopped herself from winning two gold medals in the 11th SA Games but continued to bring two gold and a silver medal in the 8th Commonwealth Games while another one in the Third Indo-Bangladesh Games, now dreams about winning Olympic in the near future.
Bronze winner in wrestling of the 11th SA Games, Sheikh Shipon from Khulna who joined BAVST in 2007, as resident player says, “Training camps conducted by the department's own coaches and sometimes by hired coaches are strictly monitored by the concerned officials that in fact help upgrade our competency and morale as well.”
Twin brothers Hasan Khan and Hossen Khan, who bagged one gold medal in Karate in a group event in the 11th SA games, joined this organisation as non-resident players in 2006. Players of BAVST do not have to perform the regular duties of a member of a disciplined force like players of other forces and they can have the opportunity of utilizing their time for practice.
“Actually, the existence of some traditional disciplines as for example, rowing, weight-lifting and boxing would go into extinction in absence of BAVST,” says Hasan Khan.
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