Bangladesh bans top archer for assaulting female teammate

DHAKA (AFP): Sports authorities in Bangladesh have banned star archer Ruman Shana, the country’s top athlete outside cricket and its only Olympic hope to date, for two years for assaulting a female teammate at a training camp, an official said Tuesday.

At the camp, Shana beat a female teammate who had also taken part in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Bangladesh Archery Federation secretary Kazi Razibuddin Ahmed told AFP.

“He did this in the past too and had apologised, so we did not take any action at that time. But when he repeated this, we gave him the punishment,” he said, without giving details of the previous incident.

The ban was effective immediately but Shana would be allowed to train during his suspension, Ahmed said.

“Hopefully, he will realise his fault and return as a better player,” he added.

Gender abuse is an issue in Bangladesh: a Human Rights Watch report cited statistics saying more than 70 percent of married women or girls in the country have faced some form of intimate partner abuse, about half of whom said their partners had physically assaulted them.

Shana won the bronze medal in the recurve bow at the 2019 World Archery Championships, becoming only the second Bangladeshi to qualify directly for the Olympics in any sport, although he was eliminated in the second round in Tokyo.

Shana accepted his punishment, which was made public on Monday, and regretted his action.

“I did commit an abominable crime and admitted my mistake,” he told the Daily Star newspaper. “At that time, I was in trouble with scholarship and family issues. I accepted the punishment and I have nothing more to say.”