Rakibul Hasan offered challenge to the country's fastest man Mezbah Ahmed after winning the 200m sprint in tender-age (U-19) boys' group of the 33rd National Junior Athletics Championships at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Rakibul from Sherpur, competing in his first junior meet, grabbed the 200m gold by clocking 21.60 seconds, 0.80 less than silver-medallist Mizanur Rahman of Lalmonirhat while Sohel Rana became third with a timing of 22.90 seconds.
“I want to be the fastest man within the next two years and it doesn't matter who are competing against me, even if it is Mezbah bhai” said Rakibul when he was asked about his target.
“I competed against Mezbah bhai in the national athletics championships and finished fourth in the 100m sprint and I also trained with him for three months at Bangladesh Navy,” said Rakibul, who has qualified for the 100m sprint final to be held today.
It is believed that the absence of Jahir Raihan of BKSP, who recently qualified for the 400m semifinals in the World U-18 Championships, helped Rakibul win the gold medal. The 12th-grader, however, brushed the notion aside.
“I don't fear anyone on the track; I am confident about winning gold,” said Rakibul, who however admitted that Jahir, who is from the same district, inspired him to come to athletics as he used to play cricket and football earlier.
In the tender aged girls' 100m sprint, Disha Sultana of BKSP won the gold medal clocking 25.9sec while her teammate Ivy Akter and Shampa Akter of Chittagong finished second and third by timing 26.9sec and 27.9sec respectively.
It is the third meet for Disha, who had earlier won both 100m and 200m sprint gold medals. The class-12 student had also won gold medals in long jump and relay.
The first day's competition also saw three records set in high jump.
Jihan of BKSP cleared 1.81 metres to eclipse the previous record of 1.74 metres held jointly by Yeakub Ali of Pabna (2000) and Al Amin of Dhaka (2007) to win the gold medal in boys' (U-17) group. His nearest rival Emdadul Islam of Khulna also broke the previous record but had to be content with a silver medal after clearing 1.75 metres.
In girls' high jump (U-17), Jannatul of BKSP set a new record by clearing 1.51 metres. The previous record was 1.5 metres, held jointly by Rabeya Sultana of BJMC (2002) and Taslima Akter Moni of BKSP (2008).
In the U-19 boys' group, Masud Rana of BKSP set a new record by clearing 1.95 metres, beating Ashikur Rahman of Narail who cleared 1.78 metres.