Bangladesh Swimming Federation (BSF) expect gold medals from newcomer Shahjahan Ali Ronny in men's 50 metres and 100 metres backstroke events of the 10th South Asian (SA) Games to be held August 18 to 27 in Colombo, reports UNB.
The Federation also has high hopes that another newcomer Mahfuza Akhter would win a gold medal in women's 100 metres backstroke.
Talking to the news agency, BSF General Secretary Syed Aminul Haque Dewan Sajal said the swimmers had successful 9-month residential training at the Mirpur National Swimming Complex. "I hope, they will perform well in the South Asian meet," he said.
A 15-member Bangladesh swimming team -- 11 men and 4 women --will leave here for Sri Lanka on August 16.
Bangladesh will take part in 17 out of the 19 swimming events in the SA Games except 400 metres and 1500 metres freestyle.
In the previous SA Games, held in Islamabad in 2004, Rubel Rana was the lone swimmer to win a gold medal for the country in 100 metres backstroke.
Bangladesh also won six silver and three bronze medals from the Islamabad meet. Apart from his gold, Rubel Rana won two silver while two other silver medals came from the relay events. Jewel Ahmed won one silver and one bronze, Niaz Ali got one silver while Samedul and Kazi Monirul Islam one bronze medal apiece.
Head coach of Bangladesh swimming team Abdul Hamid said: "We are expecting that the new swimmers will win gold medals. Of the old participants, only Jewel Ahmed is now in a condition to grab gold medals while Atiqur Rahman, Niaz Ali and Dolly Akhter may bring silver or bronze medals for the country."
He emphasised on grooming more female swimmers to take part in international tournaments in future.
Dolly Akhter, the lone female swimmer of the present team who took part in the previous SA Games, will compete in 50 metres freestyle, and 100 metres and 200 metres backstroke events in the Colombo meet.
Shahjahan Ali Ronny expressed his optimism to clinch two gold medals, saying that "my current timings are good and I think I am fit enough to grab gold in 50m and 100m backstrokes."
Female swimmer Mahfuza Akhter said she would try her utmost to bring laurels for the country and requested the countrymen to pray for her success.
Bangladesh Swimming team: Shahjahan Ali Ronny, Rubel Rana, Jewel Ahmed, Rezaul Karim, Kamal Hossain, Nazrul Islam, Niaz Ali, Rafiqul Islam, Atiqur Rahman, Munmun Ahmed, Jahangir Alam (men), Mahfuza Khatun, Sabura Khatun, Dolly Akhter and Afsana Talukder (women), Mahbubur Rahman, Abdul Hamid (coach), SM Alam (manager).