Suma Bishwas does not have any more regret for quitting kho kho and cricket to pursue a career in archery after she won a shock gold medal in the 13th South Asian Games in Pokhara, Nepal on Monday.
Suma joined 11 other archery players to help Bangladesh complete an unprecedented perfect-10 when she won gold medal in women’s individual compound event rather surprisingly.
Since coming to Pokhara, Bangladesh officials had high hopes about archery but they hardly spoke about the chance of winning all 10 gold medals publicly partly because of their doubt with women’s compound.
Bangladesh’s top three archers failed to qualify for the final in this event, so when Suma joined a Sri Lankan competitor in the final, none in the archery field was very optimistic about her.
‘I did not expect a gold medal here. In fact no one expected anything from me,’ Suma told reporters in Pokhara.
‘I was only the fourth player of the team. I had to sit for examination even before coming here. Earlier I could not train for five consecutive days due to examination,’ said Suma, who appeared for her degree examination from Mirpur Bangla College this year.
‘Archery is a kind of game where if you miss one day training you may lose your fitness. Overall I was not hundred per cent confident. My team and coach also had very little confidence in me,’ added the 24-year archer from Magura.
‘Even yesterday [Sunday] everyone was doubtful about my event. Everyone was winning gold medal, so I felt some pressure,’ said Suma, who never won a gold medal at the national level.
‘While talking to media yesterday [Sunday], our coach Zia sir told about Roman Shana, Ety Khatun and Sohel Rana. He was sure they would win today [Monday]. But he did not mention my name. It made me determined to win gold medal. He did not mention my name mostly to encourage me.’
Suma, who was raised in Dhaka’s Paikpara, said she initially played kho kho and was close to a national call up in the sport before trying cricket for a year as a pace bowler.
When her elder brother introduced archery to her she immediately fell in love with the sport and abandoned her cricket ambitions.
‘You know if you play archery you cannot play anything else as it demands full attention,’ said Suma, the youngest of three siblings.
‘In my childhood, I loved all sports. While playing kho kho, once I broke my hand and went to play next day with my injured hand. My father, who loves me very much, then realised I cannot be stopped anyway,’ said Suma.
‘So I continued playing sport. In 2009, I joined Bangladesh Ansar and it made things easy for me. I could have been a cricketer. Even today I can do pace bowling. But I love archery more than anything else,’ she added.
-With New Age input