Shaikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation, was full of admiration for the progress of Emirati golf in recent years after Ahmad Skaik finished in 43rd at the prestigious Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
The UAE’s No.1 golfer posted round of 69, 71, 77 and 71 over Dubai Creek’s Golf & Yacht Club’s Championship Course to finish on four over par for the tournament, which welcomed some of the region’s finest amateur golfers.
“I’d like to thank all the participants that took part in this important championship,” he said. “Indeed, it is very pleasant to see Ahmad Skaik and his fellow Emiratis playing at this beautiful club. Ahmad is a very devoted golfer, and we are so proud of his performance this week by becoming only the second Emirati player to make the cut. We are going to focus on Ahmad’s journey into the professional game, by working on his strengths and weaknesses, I think he has a very bright future.”
Shaikh Fahim also paid tribute to the incredible journey the UAE golf scene has been on in such a short space of time, and thanked a number of organisations for their support in growing the game within the Emirati community.
“The investment into Emirati golf doesn’t just come from the Emirates Golf Federation,” he said.
“The leadership of the UAE, the Olympic Golf Committee, the Ministry of Education plus many more organisations are very supportive of Ahmad and his peers. We are very proud of what Ahmad has achieved this week, even more so because golf is very new to the UAE, just this year we are celebrating our 50th anniversary. To have Ahmad reach this level is very satisfying.”
As well as the four Emirati golfers taking part in one of the world’s biggest amateur events, many of the UAE National Team gained an invaluable experience of seeing the world’s best up close and personal by volunteering for the 12th edition of the championship.
“The philosophy of volunteering and helping emanates from the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who brought the seven Emirates together into one country,” he said.
“His mantra was to help and donate without asking for anything in return, so those kids in school are learning the history of the leadership, which means when they come here to donate their time, they are doing it with pleasure. They are thrilled and happy to have the opportunity, and they are also taking golf lessons. They are interested in what Ahmad and his peers are doing out on the course.”
As well as Dubai hosting the AAC, Abu Dhabi will welcome the women’s version of the tournament next week, while the UAE is also home to five European Tour events across the next four months along with a host of other major sporting events such as the Formula 1 and UFC.
“The UAE is situated between the east and the west, and the weather now is fantastic, that’s why you are seeing so many sports organisations host events here,” he said. “In golf alone we have many major tournaments including the DP World Tour Championship and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as well as the women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship next weekend. We have great infrastructure out here that we have invested in, so we can afford to give these big events a home in the UAE.”
With Skaik’s performance making him just the second Emirati to make the cut at the event, Shaikh Fahim revealed plans to find the next star, with the EGF investing heavily at grassroots level.
“We are really pushing golf at a grassroots level as many of our golfers picked up the game very late,” he said. “Now we are going to schools and making golf part of lessons, from there we’ll be able to nurture the next generation of talent coming through.”