NEW CHALLENGE FOR SIDDIKUR
NEW CHALLENGE FOR SIDDIKUR

2010 and 2013 — these two years will forever be etched in golden letters in the annals of Bangladesh’s sports because Siddikur Rahman introduced Bangladesh in a new light in front of the world during these two years. He created a small piece of history by becoming the first Bangladeshi golfer to win an Asian Tour event when he romped to victory in the Brunei Open in 2010. He repeated the same feat three years later by winning the Hero Indian Open in New Delhi.

But the ace golfer has endured a long drought since then. In the last five years, he has come inches close to winning again on the continent’s premier Tour, but every time falling agonisingly short.

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Siddikur is now determined to end this drought and he has already started his preparation in the new year with a two-week conditioning camp in Malaysia.

The 34-year-old golfer would want to forget the last year as he performed the worst in 2018. He played in 23 Asian Tour events, missing the cut in nine of those events. Things were so bad at one point that the former Olympian was in fact in danger of losing his Asian Tour card for the next season. However, he turned his fortunes at the end of the year, finishing runner-up in the Panasonic India Open. Then he finished within top-20 of the AfrAsia Mauritius Open, ensuring his card for the next year as well as ending the year at 44th position in the Order of Merit.

“If you consider my ranking and earning, 2018 was definitely the worst year of my professional career. Yet I’m not entirely disappointed. I was out of 100 till October, but managed to turn things around from there. That’s no mean achievement,” said Siddikur.

Siddikur’s year-end earnings last year was 91,295 US dollars, which is way below those of previous three years when he had racked up more than 100,000 dollars each year. His earnings in 2016 was 190,389 US dollars. So when asked about his drastic fall in earnings, Siddikur was rather despondent. “I had to spend at least 50,000 dollars more than what I earned last year. Since I don’t have any sponsor, I had to spend that money from my savings.”

Siddikur’s dip in form owes a lot to the lengthy back injury that he has been suffering since the latter stages of 2016. He admitted that lack of fitness was behind that injury. “The injury happened due to a lack of fitness. It took me through some hard time and I have learnt a lot during this time. Towards the end of last year I overcame hardship and now I’m looking forward to new things.

“I am going to Malaysia where my German trainer Peter will come. I will undergo a two-week training under Peter before taking part in the SMBC Singapore Open from January 17 to 20. My main target this year would be to retain my Asian Tour card. I will play as many tournaments as possible. If I can make a good start, I might skip a few low prize-money tournaments towards the end of the year. So the first few months will be vital for me,” said the two-time Asian Tour winner.

Siddikur wants to lengthen his professional career, but his fans want more from him. They want more and more trophies for him. “I won my last Asian Tour title five years ago. Since then I haven’t won any on the tour. I hope in this year my drought will end.”

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