Former world number one golfer Vijay Singh is in contention to represent the nation at the 2016 Rio Olympics where the sport returns for the first time in more than a century.
Golf was last played at the third Olympiad in Saint Louis, the US in 1904. The first Olympic Golf Rankings was released last week placing Singh within the top 60 players for the event.
A variation of the rankings points for both male and female players will be accumulated in a two-year window in order to qualify for the Olympics.
The window for players to qualify for the Games ends with rankings that will be posted on July 11, 2016.
Based on the rankings at the end of the two-year time period, the top 15 players will qualify for the tournament, although there will a maximum of four players from any country.
After the top 15, the highest-ranked players will qualify, with a maximum of two golfers from each country that hasn’t filled the two-player maximum, until the field of 60 is full.
As host country, Brazil is assured at least one player in both competitions.
Singh is placed on the 49th position in the first Olympic golf rankings despite plummeting down the world rankings to 199 recently.
Fiji first participated at the 1956 Games but hasn’t won any medals since then, competing in sports such as athletics, judo, shooting, swimming and weightlifting.
Rugby will also mark its return at Rio after being last played in 1924.
National Golf Association of Fiji secretary Amitesh Chandra said it would be a proud moment to see Singh fly Fiji’s flag at Rio for the first time.
Chandra said Singh would be a medal contender having a lot of experience.
“Vijay will have to maintain his position in the top 60 in the next two seasons to get a crack at the Olympic Games medal,” he said.
“He has played at the World Cup and the Olympics will be a bonus since the sport will be making a return after 112 years.”
Singh nicknamed “The Big Fijian” was the world number one for 32 weeks from 2004 to 2005.
He has won three major championship titles and was the leading PGA Tour money winner in 2003, 2004 and 2008. The 51-year-old was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005 and won the FedEx Cup in 2008.
Singh who has a career earnings of more than $120million will participate at the Fiji International to be played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course from August 14-17.
Olympic Golf Rankings: 1 Adam Scott (AUS), 2 Rory McIlroy (IRL), 3 Henrik Stenson (SWE), 4 Justin Rose (GBR), 5 Sergio Garcia (ESP), 6 Bubba Watson (USA), 7 Matt Kuchar (USA), 8 Jason Day (AUS), 9 Tiger Woods (USA), 10 Jim Furyk Thongchai Jaidee (THA), 20 Bernd Wiesberger (AUT), 29 Matteo Manassero (ITA), 30 KJ Choi (KOR), 31 Brendon de Jonge (ZIM), 32 Anirban Lahiri (IND), 33 Hyung-Sung Kim (KOR), 34 Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), 35 Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR), 36 David Hearn (CAN), 37 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), 38 Alexander Levy (FRA), 39 Marcel Siem (GER), 40 Felipe Aguilar (NED), 48 Wu Ashun (CHN), 49 Vijay Singh (FIJ), 50 Camilo Villegas (COL), 51 Danny Lee (NZL), 52 Tim Wilkinson (NZL), 53 Chan Shih-Chang (TPE), 54 Antonio Lascuna (PHI), 55 Adilson da Silva (BRA), 56 Juvic Pagunsan (PHI), 57 Jhonattan Vegas (VEN), 58 Roope Kakko (FIN), 59 Ricardo Santos (POR), 60Thomas Pieters (BEL)..
SUVA, (FIJI TIMES)