Photographically Bangladesh is an absolute wonderland! Naturally I was always going to focus on sport of some description. Initially it was difficult to get past the Bangladeshi’s love of cricket, which is literally EVERYWHERE!!!
Some good fortune led me to the Bangladesh Olympic Commission (BOC) who introduced me to two very special people that I feel very honoured to be working with; Bangladesh National Hurdler Sumita Rani and her coach Mahabuba Iqbal Belly (Belly).
Being an athlete in Bangladesh is hard. It is even more of a challenge being a female athlete and female coach. I have been told the stories of some amazing female athletes who have trailblazed in Bangladesh, however sport in all forms in the country is still very much overwhelmed with males.
Sumita is the current Bangladesh record holder for the 100m Hurdles. The youngest daughter from a family of 7, Sumita is a true inspiration. With so many people living in one small country, there are limited funds available to elite athletes and the training facilities for these elite athletes are extremely basic compared to those I have experienced in Australia and the USA. Despite these limitations Coach Belly adapts what equipment they have to ensure Sumita trains hard – something I have personally been witnessing. She is extremely focussed and I don’t know that I have met someone who is more determined to make their mark.
Both Belly and Sumita have dreams and goals to train together somewhere like Australia where they have access to the best training facilities and where Sumita’s abilities can be developed and taken that one step further. From what I have seen in the past week, I don’t doubt that their hopes will come true!