It’s time to find out whether Bangladesh’s Shana is for real

Ruman Shana shoots during the bronze medal match at the Hyundai World Archery Championships in 2019.

Ruman Shana was arguably the story of the last world championships.

He qualified Bangladesh its first quota place for an Olympic Games on his way to beating experienced Italian Mauro Nespoli in the bronze medal match and taking his country’s first podium at the worlds.

“The achievement is because of hard work,” Ruman said one month after the event.

“I’m always working hard, my coach motivates me, I always try to do some extra practise, shoot one or two more ends, and I understand that when you start believing, you can do it.”

It couldn‘t happen to a nicer guy, either. Ruman is personable, humble and dedicated.

The pandemic – and the cancelled international season – ruined some incredible momentum for the young archer, who‘s now 25 years old and returning to a venue at which he spent some time training in 2018.

He was a resident archer at the World Archery Excellence Centre in Lausanne for a while.

But it was when he returned to Bangladesh and started working with renowned coach Martin Frederick that he, and his teammates, starting rounding into the form that put Bangladesh on the archery map.

Nearly two years on from that world bronze, it’s time to find out whether Ruman Shana – the Cinderella of ’s-Hertogenbosch – is for real.

“After such a long time, this is the first major event for my team and me. Every day we practice hard. Let’s see what it brings,” Ruman said this past week.

He leads an eight-strong Bangladeshi squad travelling to this second stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup. The recurve men and women are headed on to Paris in a few weeks to try and upgrade Ruman’s single Olympic quota to team places.

That would be an even bigger story.

But it’s one step at a time.

Ruman says he’s shooting consistent 670s and sometimes 680-plus level in qualification at the moment. His career competition best, two years ago, was a 681. Those kinds of scores put him among the top recurve men in the world.

He already earned his 10th spot in the world ranking. Next week is an opportunity to earn the right to keep it.

“I’m so excited,” said Shana. “We always try to do our best and, god willing, we’ll do our best this time.”

Competition starts on Tuesday with qualification in Lausanne.