The country’s iconic golfer Siddikur Rahman is most likely to bear Bangladesh’s flag in the forthcoming Olympic Games which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next month.
Earlier on Monday, it was officially announced that the 31-year old golfer became the first Bangladeshi to qualify for the Olympics directly.
An executive committee meeting of the Bangladesh Olympic Association will take place today where the decision to appoint the flag-bearer will be finalised.
And Siddikur is well ahead of the others in the probable list.
The director general of BOA, Brigadier General Fakhruddin Haider also believes Siddikur should get the honour. “It is not yet finalised as to who will bear Bangladesh’s flag in the Olympics. We will finalise it in [today’s] meeting. But in all likelihood, Siddikur will carry the flag in Rio. It should be him,” said Fakhruddin to Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
Siddikur, who admitted that qualifying directly for the Olympics is by far the “biggest achievement” of his life, will fly for Brazil on August 2 to get enough time to adapt with the condition and the golf course as he will be travelling to a Latin country for the first time. The golf event will be held from August 11-14.
The BOA has been in regular touch with Siddikur and stated that they will provide all the necessary expenses to the two-time Asian Tour winning golfer.
Bangladesh are yet to claim a single medal in any sporting event at the Olympics. Therefore, in order to inspire the athletes, the BOA this time around has announced cash incentives for the Olympic participants. A gold medal winner will bag Tk one crore, silver winner Tk 50 lakhs and bronze winner Tk 25 lakhs.
“There is always expectation but the reality is very different. We have to understand the reality as well. Siddikur is ranked more than 300 in world rankings while he is 56th among the Olympic golf participants. There will be big golfers of the world. But still we hope for the best. He qualified directly, this is already the biggest news for us.” said Fakhruddin.
It will also be the first time a Bangladeshi golfer taking part in the Olympics although golf has not been a part of the Olympics since the St. Louis Games in 1904.
Among the other participants from Bangladesh, swimmers Mahfizur Rahman Sagor and Sonia Akhtar Tumpa, shooter Abdullah Hel Baki and archer Shyamoli Roy have so far received wild-cards.
Sagor carried the Bangladesh flag in the London Olympics in 2012 while another swimmer Mohammed Rubel Rana bore the flag in Beijing in 2008. Commonwealth Games gold-winning shooter Asif Khan carried the red and green flag in Athens in 2004.
“This is a great thing that someone from Bangladesh qualified for the Olympics through direct qualification. I’m proud of him and happy at the same time. I hope he will perform well there. I wish him the best,” said Rubel, who clinched seven gold medals in the 2007 Indo-Bangla Games, including six new records.