Brigadier General MdTajul Islam Thakur, Secretary General of Bangladesh Golf Federation, expressed his satisfaction at the successful arrangement of the golf event of the Bangabandhu 9th Bangladesh Games. In an interview with TheGolfHouse, he also said that among various sporting disciplines in the country, golf has been hit from the pandemic due to the support and contribution of the federation and other stakeholders.
The curtain on the Bangabandhu9th Bangladesh Games fell recently. Say something about the event and the winners.
To celebrate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the golden jubilee of our glorious Independence, Bangabandhu9th Bangladesh Games was arrangedfrom 01 to 09 April 2021. Bangladesh Olympic Association took the lead role inorganizingthis event where a total 31 sports disciplines wereconducted.
One of the most important objectives of thiseventwas to find out the best playersin each discipline as national representativesat regional and world forum. I can confidently say thatthe intended objective has been achievedand wecould discover a good number ofpromising players in different disciplines withnewnational records. I amquite sanguine that our future is bright and we would see these winners bringing laurels and fame for our country in future.
How was the performance of the golfers in the event? Are you satisfied?
The golf event was organized bythe Kurmitola Golf Club under supervision of Bangladesh Golf Federation. The tournamentcommenced on 6th April and the closing session took place on 9thApril 2021.A total of 27 teams featuring 104 golfers from different golf clubs and institutions participated in the event. We are truly happy to see the keen interest taken by everyone during this pandemic situation. We are also satisfied with their performance. Besides, we have identified a good number of promising golfers and I am sure that with good care we will be able to unearth golfers likeSiddiqur Rahman in future.
As the Secretary General of BGF, you have the responsibility to run the show in Bangladesh golf. Sowhat are your priorities at this moment?
Golf is a game of passion and we are lucky to have many passionate golfers in our domain. Given with the fact thatmost of our valued golfers play golf to pass quality time in the course yet we are focused on branding golf at national level.
Our first priority is to promote root level promising golfers. BGF directly patronizes this initiativewith support from the Golf Academy and the clubs. So far, we were quite successful in achieving our goal and we will continue to pursue this as our top priority in near future as well.
Our second priority is to maintain the golf coursesat different clubs so that golf can be played with its aristocracy and world class standard. Truly speaking, we are striving tobringall the courses at that standard. Yet,our effort is on and hopefully we will be able to do this under all inadequacies.
We will also pursue to continuegolfing in all circumstances. Covid pandemic has presented a very different situation ahead of us. But we vow to continue maintainingsafety protocols so thatclubs remain vibrant at all time.
This is a difficult time. There has been only one professional tournament in the country in the last year. So how will the golfers, caddies, ball boys survive?
Covidpandemic has truly brought an upsetting trend in our livesall over the world. Golfis no exception to that. Eventually, we could arrange only one professional tournament last year though we planned more at the beginning.
You have rightly pointed out that the tournaments directly contribute to the golfers, caddies and ball boys. Conversely, absence of regular tournaments hits them hard. But given the fact that all golf clubs are primarily administered and run by military authority, military stood by them duringthese difficult times. We have not enforced any layoffs and continued to pay them regularly. Additionally, we are arranging different schemes of monetary grant, distributing food stuffs to help them survive the difficult times. With all these efforts their survivability was not a big issue. We arehappy to see them in full strength despite the fact that tournaments are not in full swing yet.
What has BGF done to help less privileged golfers, caddies and ball boys?
BGF is highly committed to promote the less privileged golfers, caddies and ball boys. Our national golf representatives are basically born from this less privileged group. So we take multiple steps to look after them.
We get an annual grant (though meager) from R&A (The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews), the highest governing body of Golf. The money is spent for the less privileged golfers including promising young golfers. Bangladesh Golf Academy arranges their training, food and education expenses so that they become professional golfers in due time.
In addition, we give scope to all caddies/ball boys to practice in the respective clubs with the club expenses so that they also grow as professional golfers. We arrange tournament for them as well. The professional armature tournament is also arranged annually for them.
Has BGF asked for any Covidfund from the government in this regard?
Golf is invariably an expensive game. But the maintenance of course is more expensive. As the golf course was closed amidst the corona pandemic, personnel associated with the game had quite a big setback in their livelihood. The courses could be maintained from the associated funds or from Army’s budget.
We did not ask for any fund from thegovernment but we asked for some financial help from Bangladesh Olympic Association and received somegrant from them.
To support the poor caddies/ball boys financially, concerned clubs have arranged money and food stuffs from different sources. BGF even took the initiative to collect food stuffs centrally from formations and then distributethose to the caddies and ballboys. We are very happy to see that our boys were not hit hard like other sports.
What do the members and patrons of golf feel about thisand how are they reacting?
You know golf is a game of aristocracy. Our valued members are very much considerate and they exactly understand the underlying situationofthis corona pandemic. Though playing golf is their passion, yet they have displayed absolute adherence to the nationally imposed restrictions and bindings imposed by the golf authority. Even to the extent, we have seen golfers restraining themselves from coming to clubs when the golfing was made open few weeks back. All the members and patrons of golf are waiting eagerly to see normalcy in golfing life.
When can we hope to see golf events starting in full swing? Most of the other sports events are running with or without spectators.
Golf is a non-contact game. It is quite safe to play even in this pandemic situationwith certain safety protocols. As nationwide lockdown was declared, we put some restriction on golf as well. However, we almost drove the game in full swing later and had our tournaments on. Once theongoing lockdown will be pulled, we are planning to reopen the courseswith certain restrictions. In future, with improved situation, we are planning to organizetournaments followingourgolf calendar. We are also planning to organizeprofessional tournaments as soon as the travel restriction is lifted on international flights. We hope to see a Covidfree environment soon and normalcy in our day-to-day life both at golf and other sports.