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Catholic woman athlete honored in Bangladesh

Murel Gomes, who received a national sports award, says her faith led to her success

Catholic woman athlete honored in Bangladesh

Murel Gomes receives the national sports award in Dhaka on May 11. (Photo supplied)

Published: May 12, 2022 10:14 AM GMT

Updated: May 12, 2022 11:52 AM GMT

A Catholic woman honored by the Bangladesh government with its highest sports award has credited her success to her unwavering faith in God.

Murel Gomes received the national sports award along with 85 others for their success and contributions in sporting fields at a function held in Dhaka on May 11.

The versatile 58-year-old athlete won several medals in the high jump and long jump besides representing her country in football, hockey, handball, basketball and volleyball.

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“There is no account of how many awards I have received in my life. However, this national award is the biggest for me. All that was possible because of the blessings of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and the blessings of my parents,” Gomes told UCA News.

Gomes is the sixth of nine siblings born in Dhaka district and regularly attends St. Francis Xavier’s Church. “I am a Catholic and although I lead a busy life I do not miss the daily prayers at the church,” she said.

She continues her sporting contribution by training students at three schools and a college run by the Catholic Church.

“If we were to work with women on behalf of the Church, they would be successful not only in sports but in many other fields"

Gomes told UCA News that as a woman it was difficult for her to enter and achieve success in a male-dominated society. The conservative family and social systems in Bangladesh hinder women’s progress in sports, she said.

Rita Roseline Costa, head of the women's desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh, said Gomes had won the national sports award by her own willpower.

“If we were to work with women on behalf of the Church, they would be successful not only in sports but in many other fields,” she said.

Costa said the national honor for Gomes was “an eye-opener.”

“We will start coaching the boys and girls in our schools and colleges so that they can become good examples for the Church, society and country in the future,” she said.

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