The opening ceremony of the biggest golfing extravaganza of the region-the second SAARC Golf Championship-was held yesterday at the impressive Kurmitola Golf Club course. The three-day competition unfolds from 10am today.
State Minister for Youth, Sports and Cultural Affairs Obaidul Quader and chief guest on the occasion, after making a brief speech, declared the event open on the lawn of the club in the afternoon.
The six participating teams- defending champions India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and hosts Bangladesh then took part in a march past. The state minister was later introduced to players and officials of each country.
Earlier, the patron of the championship and Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen M Mustafizur Rahman, BB, welcomed the players and dignitaries.
Chairman of Organising Committee Maj Gen Hasan Mashud Chowdury, chiefs of Navy, Air Force, diplomats and other officials attended the colourful ceremony.
The gala gathering preceded a lively press conference, which was addressed by the Army Chief. He said that the tournament, costing Taka 35 lakh, is expected to be shown on Star Sports at a later date. Also he added the meet had attracted a good number of local and foreign companies as sponsors.
After the Army Chief and president of the renovated Kurmitola Club, tees-off the competitors at eight in the morning today, each of the three-man teams battle for the first two days over 18 holes. The aggregate of two best scores out of three will count.
The top two will then be decided on the basis of the lowest aggregate scores. Afterwards the finalists go into a play-off on the last day (third day). That is going to be contested under match-play conditions.
At the first Championship, held in Bangalore last year, India clinched the title at the Karnataka Golf Association Classic Golf Course after edging out Sri Lanka in an exciting finale. Bangladesh bagged fifth place.
The players yesterday enjoyed a light round to familiarise themselves. They praised the challenging layout.
“We are up against some real tough competition. India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are formidable teams and it would be great to beat even one of them” said Bangladesh’s No. 1 golfer Shawkat-Uz-Zaman. “We enjoy knowledge of the local conditions which is a bonus,” he added.
Sadiq Quddus and Siddiqur Rahman are the other participants for Bangladesh.
Nepal and Bhutan despite being tagged underdogs intend to prove their critics wrong.
On Saturday, the Toyota second SAARC Friendship Trophy will be played. The Finance Minister will give prizes away in the evening as the chief guest.