The world came to a halt in 2020 due to the Covid-19 epidemic. This has severely affected the world of sport as big events like the Olympics have been postponed. Fortunately, 2021 has been a more eventful year for the sports world as well as for Bangladesh.
The Business Standard (TBS) looks back on the most important sporting events in Bangladesh of the past year and also discusses what lies ahead in 2022.
1. First victory of the series against the Australians
By August 2021, Bangladesh had earned one victory each in the ODIs and Tests against Australia, one of the most successful teams in international cricket history. In the T20I five-game series held in August, Bangladesh not only recorded their first T20I victory against them, but also won the series by winning four of the five matches. It was Bangladesh’s first series victory over Australia in any form of international cricket.
2. Bangladesh wins Saff U-19 women’s football championship
Bangladesh defeated India 1-0 in the Saff Under-19 Football Championship final and became the tournament champion undefeated. Anai Mogini’s 81st minute goal won them the Saff U-19 Women’s Championship. The Bangladeshi U-19 women have not conceded a single goal in any of the five matches. On the other hand, they have scored 20 goals in the tournament. Bangladeshi Saheda Akter Ripa finished the tournament as the top scorer with five goals.
3. First victory of the T20 series against New Zealand
Bangladesh had never won a T20I against New Zealand, let alone a series before the series held in September. Although New Zealand fielded an exhausted squad, they were still a pretty good team. They fought hard but it was Bangladesh who emerged victorious in the series. The hosts won the series 3-2 and recorded their first-ever T20I series victory against the Black Caps. Bangladesh were really having fun at this time, having won three consecutive T20I series for the first time.
4. Bangladesh takes silver at Archery World Cup
Bangladesh’s Diya Siddiqui and Ruman Shana won the silver medal in the classic mixed event at the second stop of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Lausanne, Switzerland in May of the year last. The duo faced Dutch Gaby Schloesser and Sjef van den Berg where they were beaten by 5-1 on Sunday in the classic edition of the event. It is, however, Bangladesh’s best result in the Archery World Cup. The Netherlands won the gold medal.
5. Shakib becomes the first counter clerk for T20I and T20 WC
Versatile ace Shakib Al Hasan became the biggest wicket-taker in T20I history by winning Michael Leask’s wicket against Scotland in the 2021 ICC Men’s World Cup. Shakib is also the first player in T20I history. cricket to achieve the double of 1000 points and 100 wickets in the T20I. Days later, he improved Shahid Afridi’s tally to 39 wickets and became the main wicket taker in T20 World Cup history.
6. Avik Anwar, first Bangladeshi driver to win on the F1 track
Bangladeshi formula racer Touhid Anwar, better known as Avik Anwar, became the first Bangladeshi to finish third in the UAE Pro automobile championship in February. He later won the NGK Pro Car Championship in the same country in November and it was the first time that a Bangladeshi had won a race on a Formula 1 track. Formula racers from different countries around the world including Scotland, New Zealand, Belgium, Mexico, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, India, Switzerland, Austria, UK and France participated in this competition.
7. The women’s team qualifies for the WC for the first time
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on November 27 announced that the remainder of the 2022 Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament will be canceled due to the outbreak of omicron, a new variant of Covid-19, in the southern part of Africa. For this reason, the top eight teams in the ICC standings directly qualified for the World Cup. As one of the top eight teams, the Bangladesh women’s team qualified directly for the 50+ World Cup for the first time in its history.
8. Maksuda’s stellar journey in bodybuilding
Maksuda Akhter became the first Bangladeshi woman to compete in an international bodybuilding competition when she competed in the IHFF Olympia Amateur Bodybuilding Championship in Mumbai, India this year. Maksuda came third out of thirty bodybuilders after competing in the female physical category.
9. Nazmul Hassan reinstated in the presidency of the BCB
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) 2021 elections took place in October 2021 and despite several hints of retirement, it was Nazmul Hassan Papon who was reinstated as chairman of the board. Although Papon has been the main boss of the BCB since 2012, it was the first time he was elected by vote. Former national team captains – Khaled Mahmud and Naimur Rahman – were also elected BCB presidents for the third time in a row.
10. Host the Asian Hockey Championship for the first time
Bangladesh hosted the Asian Hockey Championship for the first time in its history in December and also participated in the tournament as its host. It was their first participation in the Asian Hockey Championship but the result was disappointing. Bangladesh lost all four matches in the group stage and were eliminated. It was South Korea who were crowned champions after beating Japan 4-2 on penalties.
What awaits us
2021 has not been a particularly good year for men’s teams in sport, especially cricket and soccer. But what is encouraging for cricket is that there is a lot of cricket in the New Year and with the influx of many promising young players Bangladesh can look forward to a better year. Unlike the men’s team, the women’s team has had a great year which suggests that their sports need better attendance and with that they can do wonders. The Bangladeshi sportsmen have performed well in the individual sporting events and it is hoped that they will continue in this way in the new year as well.