Siddikur Rahman has become the first Bangladeshi to qualify directly for the Olympic Games after cementing his place in the top 60 on the world rankings prior to the start of next month’s showpiece in Rio de Janeiro.
The 31-year-old golfer’s place among the field in Rio was confirmed upon the release of Monday’s International Golf Federation rankings list – the cut-off date for qualification – in which he placed 56th.
Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world never to have won an Olympic medal and all previous entrants had to qualify by virtue of the wildcard rule.
Although several of the world’s top players, like Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have withdrawn from the event, Siddikur described the Olympics as “the top of the tree for sports” and one he would definitely like to win.
Siddikur has been nicknamed the “Tiger Woods of Bengal” and has become a major celebrity in the country, which is otherwise known to be fanatical in their support of cricket.
Siddikur is now expected to carry Bangladesh’s flag in the opening ceremony in Rio on August 5, alongside four other entrants who were granted wildcards.
Golf is featuring at the Olympics for the first time in 112 years, with 60 competitors in each of the men’s and women’s events playing a 72-hole stroke-play tournament.