The Bangladesh national bridge team will leave for France tomorrow to take part in the 43rd World Bridge Championships with the hope of moving into the second round in their maiden appearance in the global event, which is scheduled to get underway in Lyon on August 12.
Bangladesh qualified for the Championships by dint of finishing second in the South Asia and the Middle East zone, the qualifying phase for which took place in UAE in April.
The Bangladesh team, comprising six players -- captain Mirza Sajid Ispahani, Shah Ziaul Huq, Kamruzzaman Sohag, Rashedul Ahsan, Moshiur Rahman Nayeem and Asifur Rahman Chowdhury Razib -- will be playing in the main event, called the Bermuda Bowl, alongside 21 top teams from around the world. The top eight teams will advance into the second round.
Bangladesh and Guadalupe are the only teams among the 22 who are participating in these championships that are amateurs.
“Though we have been playing bridge for a long time, this is first time that we are participating in the world championships which is a milestone in our country's sports because Bangladeshis hardly get any opportunity to represent the country in a world event like this,” said Ziaul Haque.
The players claimed that a lot of students from Dhaka University and BUET are now showing interest in bridge after Bangladesh qualified for the world event.
United Commercial Bank provided Tk1 lakh to each player as incentive while captain Sajid Ispahani is bearing all the expenses of the team for this championship.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bridge Federation's (BBF) president Mushfiqur Rahman Mohon informed that they are planning to host a mega event, involving teams from the Asia Pacific Zone, in Cox's Bazar in March next year, which they hope will be a big boost to the game as well as tourism.
BBF's general secretary Abdul Kuddus and UCB's additional managing director Mirza Mahmud Rafiqur Rahman were, among others present, at the press conference at NSC conference room.