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London: Triumph Beyond Medals for Bangladeshis

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics said that the important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not triumph, but the struggle. Bangladesh is following his quote.

The South Asian country has been participating in the Olympic Games since 1984. But like before, Bangladeshis do not expect any Bangladeshi athlete to win a medal at the Olympics.

Bangladesh could not qualify directly for any of the sports in the most prestigious sports event of the world. With the help of the ‘wild card’ [bn] system the Bangladesh Team is in London to participate in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. This time Bangladesh received a “wild card” for five games – athletics, shooting, swimming, gymnastic and archery. Four years ago in the Beijing Olympics, Bangladesh could participate only in three games.

London 2012 Opening Ceremony, Lights and Fireworks Display at Tower Bridge. Image by Jaki North. Copyright Demotix (27/7/2012)

London 2012 Opening Ceremony, Lights and Fireworks Display at Tower Bridge. Image by Jaki North. Copyright Demotix (27/7/2012)

Bangladeshis know that their athletes will probably not earn any medals, but sports administrators and players are hoping to perform their best at the Olympics.

If you think that this is the end of the Olympics dream for Bangladesh, then you are mistaken. In this year's event Bangladeshis are creating surprises with a higher level of involvement, not on the field but off the field! You may ask, “what is this surprise?”

Rezaul Karim republished in the community blog Somewherein.net a recent post from Facebook titled “Before opening, London Olympics bring rare honor to Bangladesh”. He writes [bn]:

Many Bangladeshi immigrants in UK are involved in the preparation of this year's Olympics.

Olympic torch in Rukshana's hand:

Eight thousand lucky people have carried the Olympic torch through UK from one corner to another. The people bearing the torch must be special. Nine Bangladeshi immigrants in UK have carried the torch this year creating history, and Rukshana is one of them. On the 21st of July she carried the Olympic torch and ran in the Greenwich area. The Young lady of Bangladeshi origin is a British kickboxing champion.

Saiman Miah, the designer of the Olympic coin:

Two striking commemorative £5 coins have been released by the British coin producer Royal Mint. For the coins they chose the winning designs from a competition for art and design students across the UK. Saiman Miah, a British-Bangladeshi was the winner of the competition out of thousands of submissions. Saiman is a student of architecture in Birmingham University. The 2012 memorandum coin has already been purchased by enthusiasts around the world.

Sougata priyam, a child artist for the opening ceremony:

Sougata Priyam is a nine-year-old jolly boy. Sougata’s mother Minkashi Das cannot make him understand how big the Olympics is. Sougata said, “from our school 30 students will take part in the Olympic opening ceremony event. I have more friends now, so I am happy to be in the rehearsal.” With confidence he said: “I would rather be happy if I could do anything of my liking.”

Bright Ayesha Qureshi:

It was 6th of July 2005. The Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) was meeting in Singapore to decide which city would organize the 2012 Olympic Games. That final intense fight was fought between London and Paris. Included in the 11 member London Olympic bidding committee was a British-Bengali named Ayesha Qureshi.

Breaking the pin-drop silence 33 children emerged on the stage. The remarkable thing about those children was that they were British but they had ancestral roots in 33 different countries of the world. They showed the true colors and variations of the multi-cultural, multi-language speaking city of London. This performance impressed the guests who were present in the meeting, and London had the wining smile in the last round accumulating four more votes than Paris. Presenting 33 children from different countries was Qureshi's idea.

Sobar blog informed [bn] us about another Bengali, who will charm the Olympic opening ceremony with his dance performance:

British-Bangladeshi Akram khan is a choregrapher of this Olympic opening ceremony. He is a son of immigrant parents from Bangladesh. With his direction twelve thousand dance artists will perform in the Olympic opening ceremony.

During the Olympics, a taste of Bangladesh will also be available. Online newspaper Sylherter Alap reports [bn]:

The award winning Chef and restaurant owner Enam Ali’s ‘Le Raj’ has been selected as one of the official food suppliers of the London Olympic. ‘Le Raj’ is a popular restaurant and curry dish provider in Epsom Downs, Surrey. Beside curry, ‘Le Raj’ will prepare and provide Iftar  to the Muslim guests at the Olympics [note: Iftar is the meal Muslims break their day long fast with in the Islamic month of Ramadan].

Lee raj not only will serve the athletes, but also senior official, heads of the governments, ministers, members of the parliament and many dignitaries. Bangladeshi popular food items will be available along with cuisines from other Asian countries.

Not only off the field, the Bangladeshi touch will reach onto the field too – and come into (contact) with the sweat of many  players. Bdnews [bn] informs that in this Olympic one of the main uniform  producing countries for athletes is Bangladesh:

Popular sports gear and accessories producers, like Adidas, Puma and Nike will be the main clothing providers at the London Olympics. These companies manufacture their clothing in countries like Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. But in this industry Bangladesh is ahead of others.

Adidas, one of the official uniform producers of the Olympic Games, is also sponsor the uniform of the British team. Meanwhile Nike is the sponsor of USA, China, German and Russian teams. Besides making clothes for many other countries, Puma is also sponsoring Sports star Usain Bolt. Many of the clothes he will wear were made in factories in Dhaka by Bangladeshi labors.

So if someone searches for ‘Bangladesh’ in the medal tally, he or she might be disappointed. But if they want to search for people who are trying to make the Olympic games a success, the name of Bangladesh will be blazing there.

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

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