Emirati Special Olympics golfer Ali Sumadiaa in action during Pro-Am tournament at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Emirati Special Olympics golfer Ali Sumadiaa had the experience of a lifetime on Wednesday when he partnered major winner and Ryder Cup Europe captain Padraig Harrington at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Pro-Am tournament at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
The Pro-Am tournament gives keen amateur golfers the opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest names in golf as a curtain raiser to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – the first Rolex Series tournament of the season currently underway.
Sumadiaa was playing as part of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council team and shot three birdies during his round in his first Pro-Am event.
The 16-year-old Emirati took up golf two years ago and went on to represent the UAE in the Special Olympics hosted in Abu Dhabi in 2019 just two months after taking up the sport.
Emirati Special Olympics golfer Ali Sumadiaa gestures for a photograph.
Harrington has had a long affiliation with the Special Olympics and has been a Global Ambassador for the organisation since 2010.
Speaking about his experience today, Sumadiaa said: “I’m really proud and happy to play with Padraig, it was a dream and I hope to come back next year to play with him again. I had three birdies and it was a lot of fun out there. Padraig’s very good.
“I was impressed by his use of the driver and he has a great swing. I want to be able to swing like him one day. He gave me some good tips for the bunkers and where to place my weight for the shot.”
After the round, Harrington added: “I had great fun today with Ali. Every time you’re involved with the Special Olympics athletes, they’re always a joy to be a round and incredibly enthusiastic. Ali played well, he is a good strong player, and he had a few birdies today.“He told me he’s won a silver medal and is going for gold next time and it’s certainly a possibility. I’d actually like to take some of his enthusiasm into the tournament with my own golf.”
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