The American journalist was clearly irritated by the presence of so many Bangladeshi newsmen at the press conference after almost every athletics event at London.
He had no clue as to why a country would be so highly represented despite them having no stake in any of the events. Spurred on by the question from his deep inside, he finally took the courage on Saturday and asked the obvious.
Before Usain Bolt had his last press conference he politely approached a Bangladeshi journalist sitting next to him and said in a controlled voice: ‘ Can you please tell me why so many Bangladeshis are here?’
The answer was almost ready for him: ‘We are here because we love the game.’
The journalist in his mid-40s must have wondered athletics is a highly popular game in Bangladesh it would be no surprise to see the next Usain Bolt coming from the country.
While he will be partly correct in thinking that it is very popular in Bangladesh, any thought of seeing an athlete, who can compete at global stage would appear absurd.
With the London Olympics is now over, it is perhaps now time to look back, how far Bangladesh are behind from the world in terms of track and field, which is called queen of all sports.
In London, Bangladesh had just one representative in athletics and the timing of Bangladesh’s lone athlete Mohan Khan came as yet another shock if not a big surprise.
He ended his 100-metre sprint heat in 11.25 seconds, exactly 1.62 seconds less than fastest man Usain Bolt in the competition. After his event Mohan had claimed to have made some kind of progress as it was still his best timing in career.
But it was certainly not the best timing for Bangladesh in the Olympics. In 1988 Seoul Olympics, Mohammad Shahjalal completed his 100-metre in 10.94 seconds, which was just a second more than then fastest man Carl Lewis, who took 9.92 seconds.
In 24 years time when top athletes are thinking if it was possible to run 100 metres in 9.4 seconds, the gap with Bangladesh only widened. Shahanuddin Chowdhury ran 200 metres for Bangladesh in 21.18 seconds at Barcelona in 1992 and it is still the Olympic record for the country in the event.
Bangladesh failed to find a new talent in 20 years to improve the record of Shahanuddin Chowdhury. The same can be said about 400m, 800m and 4x100m relay.
Milzar Hossain ran 400 metres in 48.76 seconds in the Seoul Games and no-one came later to improve his record. Milzar also holds the Olympic record of 1:51.16sec for Bangladesh in 800-metre.
Since Sahajalal, Shahanuddin and Milzar, Bangladesh had also produced some talent in Mahbub Alam, Bimal Chandra Tarafdar, but could not get the best out of them.
Bimal ran away from the Games’ village in Atlanta to put the country in a shame, while Mahbub ended his long fight with poverty when he died in a car crash in 2010.
With no new talent on the horizon, Bangladesh is unlikely to find their own hero anytime soon and can only look at Bolt, Blake and others to appease their thrist. No American will realise it unless they know the reality.
-With New Age input