Diya is from Sadar upazila in Nilphamari. His father Nur Alam Siddique works as a local correspondent at a private television channel. Affectionately, he calls his daughter “baba”. As Diya is the eldest among the three brothers and sisters, her parents have a special place for her in their hearts. But nobody in her family wanted her to be an athlete except her father. Diya says, “I would never be able to involve in archery without my father’s support.”
Diya is currently studying higher secondary at Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP). When Diya was in the sixth grade at Nilphamari Girls High School, physical training teacher Khariul Islam took her to archery talent camp seeing her height (5 feet 4 inches). The way she was selected in that special camp of the Archery Federation was funny.
Reminiscing the day, Diya said, “Although others in the camp were trying with the bows, the teachers were not giving me any chance. At one point, without giving me any chance, my teacher said, ‘You are out of the camp’.
I said, why sir? Why did you exclude me without giving me a chance? Listening to my words, my teacher gave me a chance and I was selected.”
After that, Diya came to the camp held in Shaheed Ahsanullah Master Stadium. From there she tried for BKSP. Later, she got a chance in BKSP in 2016.
However, her family members could not accept that their daughter would go to BKSP and study there. This time too, her father Nur Alam came forward. He had never lost his confidence in his daughter.
He said, “I knew that wherever my girl goes, she would study attentively. In BKSP too, she has continued her studies besides playing. After getting the scholarship in the 8th grade, she also got GPA 5 in SSC.
She triumphed in her maiden international tournament. She won the gold medal in women's recurve individual event at the International Solidarity Championship held in Tongi. And then she won the silver medal in the World Cup.
Diya is ever grateful to her coaches for her success. Diya said, “I am grateful to everyone including national team coach Martin Frederick, BKSP coach Nur Alam and assistant coach Ziaul Haque.”
Diya's performance in the World Cup has been praised by many including foreign archers. “There, I did not understand many as I did not know their languages. But our former coach Richard Sir (coach of UK and former national team coach Richard Priestman) said, ‘I have noticed from the beginning that you have played very well’. Even the volunteers wished me best of luck after seeing me playing.”
Stage three of the Archery World Cup will be held in June in France. It is also the qualifying round for the Olympics. Now Diya is dreaming of playing in the Olympics.
Regarding this she said, “The biggest dream of any athlete is to play in the Olympics. I too have the same dream. Ruman bhai (Ruman Shana) has got the chance to play in the Olympics. I always get inspired seeing him playing. I too want to play in the Olympics like him.”
Diya does not want to stop the journey she started by winning silver at the World Cup. Bangladesh also dreams of touching the sky with the bows and arrows of Diya.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu.