Diya continues lighting the way in women’s archery

Archer Diya SiddiqueShamsul Hoque

As she was receiving the award from table tennis legend Zobera Rahman Linu, Diya Siddique could hardly believe it! Her international career is just four years old, two of which she couldn’t play due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In such a short period, Diya has lit up the scene in Bangladesh archery.

Diya’s father Nur Alam Siddique named her ‘Diya’, the Bangla word for lamp. Who knew, she would go on to illuminate Bangladesh archery!

Diya hit the bull’s eye in her maiden international tournament, winning gold at the women’s recurve singles’ event of the International Solidarity Archery Championship held in Tongi in 2019.

Diya Siddique receives the award from Zobera Rahman Linu
Shamsul Hoque

In 2021, Diya did something unprecedented in the history of Bangladesh sports. Bangladesh has been competing at the Olympic Games from 1984. But Bangladesh has never managed to cross the threshold of the qualifying round and reach the main competition stage of an event.

At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Bangladesh archery team went past the qualifying round and competed at the final round of the recurve mixed event. At the event, Ruman Shana was Diya’s partner. Diya also went past the qualifying stage at the women’s single’s event and competed in the first round.

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Before the Olympics, Bangladesh won silver in the recurve mixed event of the Archery World Cup stage-2 held in Switzerland in June 2021.

Next, Bangladesh made history by winning the Asian Archery Championship in Dhaka for the first time. Diya was also a part of that team.

Diya was acknowledged for all of those achievements and was named as the sportswoman of the year at the Teer-Prothom Alo sports award-2021 event, which was held in Dhaka on Saturday.

Archer Diya Siddique won the sportswoman of the year award
Prothom Alo

After the event, BKSP students who attended the event flocked around Diya, who is a former BKSP student herself, to take a picture with her. Diya was still on cloud nine after receiving the award, “I didn’t know I was going to win the award. But my teammates were saying, ‘You will win’. There was a lot of competition in this category. I’m really happy I won the award.”

Diya is also determined to not lose her position in Bangladesh archery, a position she had to earn with a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

“I felt terrible after not making it in the squad for the SAFF tournament. Then I made a promise to myself that I will do well in every competition. I will be No.1. Then, no one can drop me. My biggest strength is my confidence. Our coach and teachers at BKSP helped me. In the end, I achieved what I had set out to do.”

Diya’s father, who works as a district correspondent in Nilphamari for a private television network in Bangladesh, was overjoyed after hearing of his daughter’s achievement.

“Before coming to the programme, I had told my father that I might win an award. After winning, he is the first person I phoned. My father was really happy.”

*This report appeared at the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashfaq-Ul-Alam Niloy