I created a dream which I’m carrying: Siddikur Rahman

Azad Majumder | Published: 20:00, Oct 02,2016 | Updated: 21:11, Oct 02,2016

 
 

Siddikur Rahman. - New Age photo

Ace golfer Siddikur Rahman made history as he became the first ever Bangladeshi player to qualify for the Olympics. It is the first time in 112 years that golf has been staged at the Olympics, with 60 competitors each in the men's and women's events playing a 72-hole strokeplay tournament. Siddik ended on the 56th position on the cut-off date to ensure his qualification. Siddik shared his Olympics ambition in interview with New Age at the Krumitola Golf Club on Wednesday. Here is the first part of his interview.   

Q: How does it feel becoming an Olympian?

Siddik: First of all I am grateful to god that He has given me a great opportunity as a man from Bangladesh straightway I am getting chance to Olympic. So, I am very grateful and also feel proud that from Bangladesh I am the first person who got chance to participate in Olympic 2016.

Q: Did you ever think that you can play in Olympics?

Siddik: Well, I never thought about this Olympic because my game wasn’t that good in last two-and-a-half-year. I never think that I would be able to participate in the Olympics. But thanks God that I played very well in Mauritius. Because of that I got a big jump. So, after that achievement I started thinking about Olympics. I was thinking myself   that now I should be able to participate in Olympics.

Q: Why is Olympics so special?

Siddik: Well, of course it’s special not only for me but all over the world. Every four years, one time (chance). More than 200 countries participate and all kinds of sports involve there. So it’s really very special as an athlete.  For Bangladesh it’s more special because golf is very new in Bangladesh.  We have been just playing it for last 15 years. So as a new sport I got a chance to play in Olympics.  I think for any athlete it’s a very good achievement to play in Olympics.

Q: When you started your career did you ever think that you could end up your career as an Olympian?

Siddik: Well, when I started my golf I did not even know about Olympics.  Just a couple months ago I heard a lot of things about the Olympics. Especially my caddy, he is from Malaysia, and he inspired me a lot. He said to me that it is a very prestigious tournament and if you get into it you will make history.  Then I started playing seriously for it.

Q: When you started your career what was your biggest dream?

Siddik: Like when I started working in this Kurmitola Golf Club, I just played for fun. I was a ball boy. I thought if I can play golf of course it will be much better than being a ball boy.  When I started playing I thought maybe if I can play in India that will be very good for me. And I would be able to change my life. So I kept playing and slowly I have improved. I played as an amateur for six seven years.  I won tournaments in all subcontinent countries multiple times.  In 2007 when I turned pro, within two years in 2007-08, I won four tournaments in PGTI.  You know this is how I created my dream. I fulfilled my dream and again I created another dream, which I am carrying now.

Q: When you started your career we know you faced a lot of hardship. Did you ever think that golf could be a way out from this hardship?

Siddik: Well, first of all I would like to thank my family. They support me a lot, maybe not financially. But you know as a boy I should have done some other things. I should have studied university, which I could not do unfortunately because I was so involved in golf.  They never forced me to go to university instead of golf.  When I said I want to play golf, they supported me. I am really thankful to them for that.

Q: You had lot of success as an amateur. When did you actually decided to turn into a pro?

Siddik: Well, back in 2005-06 I won two international tournaments in this golf course. After that my authority told me that Siddik you should turn into pro now. You achieved a lot but you need money.  When I played as an amateur that time there was not any money, only trophy. So in 2007 I went to Kensville (PGTI qualifying school) and qualified smoothly.  After turning pro I was little confused, like how I am going to survive my life because that time it was very expensive to play. Even now it is very expensive. I earned very little money from the sponsors and had to struggle. So when qualified for PGTI I was anxious to make the cut, but I did it smoothly and earned money and I utilised that for the next tournament.

Q: What was the turning point in your career?

Siddik: Well, my turning point was in 2010 before the Brunei Open, I came seventh in Thailand in Kings Cup, so made some money and went to Brunei. So, actually from Brunei my life has changed.

Q: When you won Brunei Open until that point golf was an unknown sports in Bangladesh. After that you got some following, every time you play in a tournament it gets some media attention. In a sense you have become synonymous to golf in Bangladesh. How does it feel?

Siddik: That time you know golf was not very popular in Bangladesh. You know once I won Brunei Open that was my biggest achievement in my life. Though it was in my professional career, I could not think that I would be able to win a tournament that fast in Asian tour. Because when I went to Asian tour, I just tried to see what my level is. That time golf moved one step in Bangladesh. After that everybody thought no problem, we got the ability to win tournament. To be continued.

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Q: You won your first Asian tour in 2010. But in six years you could add just another trophy to it. Although you came close to winning on quite a few occasions, you missed them narrowly. There are some inconsistencies in your performance. What is the problem you think?

Siddik: Well this is game. This is very normal. In game there are always ups and downs.  You know to me this is experience. That’s now down, that’s experience. It’s not always possible to win, even if I am good player. I am not saying I am a very good player. But the way you see it, I was there almost winning the tournaments.  I should have may be. But to me that is the experience. And this experience will motivate me to move forward.

Q: You came very close in Mauritius this year but you missed it. Earlier same things happened in Hero India Cup. Do you think that happened because of nervousness?

Siddik: Well. I think that was my fault. May be it was pressure. But to me (in Mauritius) after 15th hole I was celebrating with my caddy. I was over confident and I was talking myself that no problem I was going to win the trophy. I was over confident, so in 16th I had a bad shot and I got a double bogey. After that my feeling was that I put pressure on myself.  Because of that I could not win. So, I believe in future if I get chance I will be able to handle the pressure.

Q: We know you are a darling boy in Asian Tour. Wherever you go you are very well received? What is your next goal?

Siddik: Well I don’t have any particular goal. But I am giving my best effort into my golf. I am really working hard. I am doing everything I could and I just want to enjoy my golf. I don’t care about the result. Whatever comes to me I will accept this. And the mistake I will do I will take that as an experience.

Q: Recently you missed a European tour because of visa problem. Does it happen very often?

Siddik: It’s been happening very frequently, every year. But it’s not embassies’ fault. It’s my fault.  Normally they take four five working days, I cannot make that. I give them only one or two days, so it’s not sufficient time for them.  This is my situation.  Sometime because of visa I cannot participate in many tournaments.  It’s been since 2010.

Q: As a Bangladeshi do you think you are being discriminated?

Siddik: Well, if I were a Malaysian I would not need visa. As a Bangladeshi I need every country’s visa.  But of course there are many solutions. I think they (government) can help me regarding this.

Q: These days a lot of golfers are coming from Bangladesh. They take inspiration from you. They think you as their role model. What is your message for them?

Siddik: I am a good example for them. They should be inspired to see me and act accordingly to become a good athlete. They should do something for the country, for themselves and for golf in Bangladesh.

Q: Last two years Bangladesh hosted two Asian Tour events but you did not get any success. What was the reason?

Siddik: Well I was unwell. I was unfit to play the tournaments. But you know this is big tournament in my country, I gave my best but I couldn’t perform I had a wrist injury, I had back injury, I was so tired and the weather was terrible.  So all together it did not suit me, but it’s good to have that kind of tournament in Bangladesh. But inshallah I have a good future. I have many more chance to win at home.

Q: Coming back to Olympics, you will be carrying Bangladesh flag in Olympics. What kind of support you are expecting from the government?

Siddik: Well I am not expecting anything from my government or from Olympics. You know whatever God has given me I am happy. But I will really appreciate if they put some budget for golf. Then we will be able to see how good talents we have. You know, this is what I am expecting from my government. 

Q: How happy are your parents about your playing in Olympics?

Siddik: Well they are really excited that I am participating in Olympics. My parents are saying that we never won there. This kind of excitement we never saw before.  So they are really grateful for this achievement.

Q: Do you see you have any chance of winning any medal in Olympic?

Well of course I have a good dream on that I am preparing myself very nicely. I will try my best and I leave the rest to almighty.

Q: Golf is all about one-off performance. On a given day’s performance can achieve you really something big. On that count do you think you have a good chance of winning the medal in Olympics?

Siddik: Yes, definitely. Even in Mauritius I could not think I will be able to take second position.  My goal was like I thought maybe if I could get into 10 or 20th position I would go to Olympics. But I became second. So it can happen anytime, any player at any golf course.

Q: In the Olympics you will compete with the top golfers. How challenging this could be?

Siddik: Well it could be very good experience. I played in World Cup golf in Australia, I have good experience, the format, the player– mostly similar players, so it will be good fun for us.

Q: You won your first Asian tour in 2010. But in six years you could add just another trophy to it. Although you came close to winning on quite a few occasions, you missed them narrowly. There are some inconsistencies in your performance. What is the problem you think?

Siddik: Well this is game. This is very normal. In game there are always ups and downs.  You know to me this is experience. That’s now down, that’s experience. It’s not always possible to win, even if I am good player. I am not saying I am a very good player. But the way you see it, I was there almost winning the tournaments.  I should have may be. But to me that is the experience. And this experience will motivate me to move forward.

Q: You came very close in Mauritius this year but you missed it. Earlier same things happened in Hero India Cup. Do you think that happened because of nervousness?

Siddik: Well. I think that was my fault. May be it was pressure. But to me (in Mauritius) after 15th hole I was celebrating with my caddy. I was over confident and I was talking myself that no problem I was going to win the trophy. I was over confident, so in 16th I had a bad shot and I got a double bogey. After that my feeling was that I put pressure on myself.  Because of that I could not win. So, I believe in future if I get chance I will be able to handle the pressure.

Q: We know you are a darling boy in Asian Tour. Wherever you go you are very well received? What is your next goal?

Siddik: Well I don’t have any particular goal. But I am giving my best effort into my golf. I am really working hard. I am doing everything I could and I just want to enjoy my golf. I don’t care about the result. Whatever comes to me I will accept this. And the mistake I will do I will take that as an experience.

Q: Recently you missed a European tour because of visa problem. Does it happen very often?

Siddik: It’s been happening very frequently, every year. But it’s not embassies’ fault. It’s my fault.  Normally they take four five working days, I cannot make that. I give them only one or two days, so it’s not sufficient time for them.  This is my situation.  Sometime because of visa I cannot participate in many tournaments.  It’s been since 2010.

Q: As a Bangladeshi do you think you are being discriminated?

Siddik: Well, if I were a Malaysian I would not need visa. As a Bangladeshi I need every country’s visa.  But of course there are many solutions. I think they (government) can help me regarding this.

Q: These days a lot of golfers are coming from Bangladesh. They take inspiration from you. They think you as their role model. What is your message for them?

Siddik: I am a good example for them. They should be inspired to see me and act accordingly to become a good athlete. They should do something for the country, for themselves and for golf in Bangladesh.

Q: Last two years Bangladesh hosted two Asian Tour events but you did not get any success. What was the reason?

Siddik: Well I was unwell. I was unfit to play the tournaments. But you know this is big tournament in my country, I gave my best but I couldn’t perform I had a wrist injury, I had back injury, I was so tired and the weather was terrible.  So all together it did not suit me, but it’s good to have that kind of tournament in Bangladesh. But inshallah I have a good future. I have many more chance to win at home.

Q: Coming back to Olympics, you will be carrying Bangladesh flag in Olympics. What kind of support you are expecting from the government?

Siddik: Well I am not expecting anything from my government or from Olympics. You know whatever God has given me I am happy. But I will really appreciate if they put some budget for golf. Then we will be able to see how good talents we have. You know, this is what I am expecting from my government. 

Q: How happy are your parents about your playing in Olympics?

Siddik: Well they are really excited that I am participating in Olympics. My parents are saying that we never won there. This kind of excitement we never saw before.  So they are really grateful for this achievement.

Q: Do you see you have any chance of winning any medal in Olympic?

Siddik: Well of course I have a good dream on that I am preparing myself very nicely. I will try my best and I leave the rest to almighty.

Q: Golf is all about one-off performance. On a given day’s performance can achieve you really something big. On that count do you think you have a good chance of winning the medal in Olympics?

Siddik: Yes, definitely. Even in Mauritius I could not think I will be able to take second position.  My goal was like I thought maybe if I could get into 10 or 20th position I would go to Olympics. But I became second. So it can happen anytime, any player at any golf course.

Q: In the Olympics you will compete with the top golfers. How challenging this could be?

Siddik: Well it could be very good experience. I played in World Cup golf in Australia, I have good experience, the format, the player– mostly similar players, so it will be good fun for us.

 

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