Shooter Pakhi dies in car crashStaff Correspondent
Famed shooter Firoz Hossain Pakhi, a gold medallist in 1995 South Asian Games, died in a car crash at Banpara upazila of Natore on Wednesday. He was 38.
Pakhi was returning to Dhaka with his family from his hometown Pabna after the Eid vacation when a truck hit his private car leaving him, his three-year old daughter Pushpita Ahmed and their domestic help Ayena (20) dead.
Pakhi’s wife and fellow SA Games gold medallist shooter Lovely Chowdhury Ankhi who was also travelling with them, was critically injured in the accident and is being treated at the Pabna Sadar Hospital.
Din-e-Islam, the officer in charge of Banpara highway police, told reporters that the car carrying Pakhi lost its control and fell into roadside ditch after the truck, with the number plate Dhaka Metro-Ga 29-2301, hit the car from behind.
The police managed to seize the truck but could not arrest the driver.
Pakhi, son of late Babu Miah of Pabna Mohila College Road, was born in 1975 and came to limelight as a shooter after becoming the best player of the Independence Day Shooting Championship in 1987.
He was adjudged best player in the National Shooting Championship for six consecutive years starting from 1990 and his career reached the pinnacle in 1995 when he won his first SA Games gold in the 10-metre Air Rifle team event in Madras. He also won silver in the individual category of same event.
Pakhi also won gold medal in .177 Air Rifle event at the South Asian Shooing Championship in 1997.
He, however, missed out on a Commonwealth Shooting Championship medal at Langkawi in Malaysia in 1998 by a whisker after he finished sixth in the 10-metre Air Rifle event.
He married Ankhi, a star shooter in her own right, in 1999 and the couple, adored as Ankhi-Pakhi, were highly popular in Bangladesh’s shooting arena.
Ankhi won her lone SA Games gold medal in the 50-metre Three Position Rifle team event in Kathmandu in 1999 while, she won a silver and a bronze medals in the individual event of Three Position Rifle and 50-metre prone respectively in the same meet.
Later she won a gold medal in 50-metre prone in the 3rd South Asian Shooting Championship in Karachi in 2001 where she also won a bronze in 10-metre Air Pistol.
After their retirement as shooters Pakhi and Ankhi started coaching and took their first coaching certificate in 2007 from a coaches’ education course, organised by the International Olympic Committee in Finland.
They participated in a few more coaching courses in China, South Korea and Australia later on and founded a Shooting Academy named Ankhi Army Shooting Association.
Pakhi guided the Bangladesh national team as a coach at the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010.
A pall of gloom descended on the Bangladesh’s sports arena at tragic deaths of Pakhi and his daughter and the injury of Anki, particularly at the National Shooting Complex where the couple learned their trade.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist shooter Asif Hossain Khan, who is also a nephew of Pakhi, said the untimely death of Pakhi is not only a big loss for the nation’s shooting but also a huge personal setback for him.
‘When Pakhi mama left Pabna for Dhaka he presented me all of his shooting gears and I became shooter training with those,’ said Asif.
‘He was my friend, philosopher and guide. I will feel his absence in every turns and twists of my career,’ said Asif.
The state minister for youth and sports, Ahad Ali Sarkar, the secretary to ministry of youth and sports, Nur Mohammad, Bangladesh Olympic Association and several sports federations and clubs mourned his death.
They were buried at the Arifpur graveyard in Pabna after a Namaj-e-Janaza on Wednesday.
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