Dhaka, Bangladesh: Mohammad Siddikur Rahman’s remarkable rise to prominence will act as an inspiration to his young compatriots in the starting line-up for the sixth edition of the Faldo Series Bangladesh Championship.
With a 100-strong field set to vie for glory at Kurmitola Golf Club (KGC) in the seventh event of the 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season, the spectre of Siddikur will loom large.
A two-time Asian Tour winner, Siddikur’s standing as a national hero was cemented when he became the first sportsman from his country to qualify for the Olympics and was accorded the honour of acting as Bangladesh’s flag-bearer during the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Heady stuff for a young man whose golfing career began modestly when he worked as a ball boy at Dhaka’s KGC to support his studies and who made his first club with a broken seven-iron head stuck on a metal rod.
Some two decades on, Siddikur is a revered figure in Bangladeshi sporting circles. Such is his status these days that he’s now attached to KGC as an honorary member.
Sir Nick Faldo, six-time Major champion and Founder of the Faldo Series, said: “I have tremendous admiration for Siddikur and for what he has achieved in golf, primarily through hard work and dedication.
“He’s a shining example to all of the competitors in this year’s Faldo Series Bangladesh Championship. Through his success he has shown what it’s possible to accomplish in golf.”
Although golf’s history in Bangladesh dates back to the mid-1950s it’s only been since the establishment of the Bangladesh Golf Federation in 1998 that the popularity of the game has grown and the number of people playing it has increased.
“I’m pleased to see such a large field for our tournament this year. It’s another indication that golf is becoming more accessible in the country,” said Faldo, who will welcome the age-group winners to the 14th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, in March, 2020.
With Bangladesh international representative Mohammed Shahab Uddin, last year’s winner, now ineligible having turned 21, interest in the 54-hole qualifier (November 5-7) will be fuelled by the fact that a new overall champion will be crowned.
Among the contenders are likely to be Mohammed Rubel Miah, Mohammed Shahjamal Miah and Sonya Akhter, age group winners last year, all of whom are keen to secure a return trip to Laguna Lăng Cô.
The 2019-20 Faldo Series Asia season is supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. The International Junior Golf Academy is a partner of the Faldo Series.
As well as a series of qualifiers in Thailand, the FSA schedule includes two events in China and championships in Australia, Bangladesh, Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.