The Indian golf story to Rio

New Delhi, 27th June 2016:

By Champika Nanda Sayal, Secretary General of WGAI

An end of a long 112-year long journey. A journey that generations of golfers across in India and the globe would have liked to have witnessed. No longer will the game of golf be just club oriented or discriminatory by colour and gender. It is an exemplary test for the best.

With few weeks to go and the final deadline to announce players on 11th of July- all eyes and ears will be on players representing their countries and individual medallist who have made it to the Olympics for “Golf”- one amongst 28 sports included in the schedule for early August 2016. The host nation located in the southern hemisphere has been marred by controversies in the past 12 months and later the threat of Zika virus has been an overhang. We all can simply be optimistic – that sporting gods will ensure yet another successful edition of the Olympics.

A full field of 120 brilliant players representing approximately 40 nations will be watched by billions across the world as they march at the Opening ceremony of the Olympics culminating a 112-year long journey.

The big pitch as I recollect gained momentum in 2004, when the world ranking system was being talked about and then worked out.

The success of Golf at the Olympics being the untiring efforts of Golf Administrators & Iconic players from across the world who were able to push for their love sport and finally inspire the Olympic Committee for Golf’s inclusion. India’s golfing story may well be etched by the Indian trio of two gentlemen Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia and the lone woman-Aditi Ashok from Bengaluru.

The Lahiri story can be tracked to his stunning performance in the past 20 months in tournaments that have made him the 25th ranking player on the Men’s Olympic list. Experience and maturity has made Anirban a calm analyst of this game. SSP Chowarasia’s 45th position on the Olympic ranking list has volumes of aspirations as he sets his eyes on his maiden Olympic title. His humble upbringing as a green keeper’s son on the periphery of the world second oldest golf course the Royal Calcutta Golf Club has made his journey extraordinary. A journey well endured. A player with an unfathomable destiny.

Aditi Ashok’s nine-year journey is yet another historic feat perhaps the shortest journey to the Olympics. An Olympian in the making at 18 years and perhaps the youngest female player in the golf arena of the games. Aditi’s performances over the past 20 months has the distinction of having secured the 39thposition on the Ladies European Tour for 2016 after culmination of the last qualifying tournament of the Ladies European Tour – this has given an impetus to her Olympic rankings which is currently in the 57thposition.

For our three home grown players Anirban Lahiri, SSP Chawrasia and Aditi Ashok who have inspired thousands of golfing aficionados across the country- “The week of Golf at the Olympics is not far- Swami Vivekananda’s famous words “ARISE, AWAKE AND STOP NOT UNTIL YOUR GOAL IS ACHIEVED”. March forward in your journey in India’s golfing history- as the first three “Indian Golfing Olympians”