Bangladeshi golf star Siddikur Rahman believes next week’s Bashundhara Bangladesh Open will present the opportunity for him to fight for a place in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The two-time Asian Tour winner is currently ranked 59th – one rung above the cut-off place – in the current Olympic qualifying rankings but he knows a dream victory at home in the US$300,000 event will give his hopes a huge lift.
The slightly-built Siddikur will headline the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open, which is one of five new events on the Asian Tour this year, alongside local hopes Zamal Hossain Mollah and S. H. Sohel at the Kurmitola Golf Club from May 27-30.
Hailed as one of his nation’s sporting icons where he is the first Bangladeshi to win on the region’s premier Tour, Siddikur has also represented his country in the World Cup of Golf in 2013.
Winning his home Open is the immediate goal but walking with the rest of the Bangladeshi Olympians in the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro next year will be one of the ultimate joys for him.
“It is my dream to play in the Olympics. If I can maintain this position, then I will add another milestone in my career.
“With the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open, other Bangladeshi golfers might have a chance to play their way into the Asian Tour and the Olympics as well. This new tournament opens up a lot of opportunities,” said Siddikur.
He will line-up against the leading Asian Tour stars including Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who holds an unprecedented 18 Asian Tour titles, Singapore’s veteran Mardan Mamat and rising Indian star Rashid Khan.
With golf gaining popularity in the cricket-loving nation, Siddikur is excited to showcase the depth and strength of the local golfers in his National Open.
“A lot of positive things will come out from this new event. It is a great opportunity for me and the other Bangladeshi golfers to do something exceptional there,” said Siddikur.
“The golf landscape has changed. I can say that golf is probably the second most popular sport in the country after cricket. Everybody knows about golf and they know about me because I’ve done well on the Asian Tour,” he explained.
This is the first time Bangladesh will host an Asian Tour event. It previously staged domestic and regional golf tournaments including with the Professional Golf of India (PGTI) Tour and also hosted an Asian Development Tour (ADT) tournament in 2011.