Anand Datla

Asian Games success was the spark that fueled Indian golf

This year marks the 35th anniversary of an epic victory in Indian golf. Four young men came together in the 1982 Asian Games to win gold in the golf competition.

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Bunny Laxman Singh, Rishi Narain, Amit Luthra and Rajiv Mohta

July 01, 2017: June is an important month for Indian sport. No we aren’t just speaking about cricket though, as four young men prevailed to produce a watershed moment for Indian golf. Bunny Laxman Singh, Rajiv Mohta, Rishi Narain and Amit Luthra combined to bring metal and glory for the country. The four men produced a stunning 14 stroke victory over reputed teams from South Korea and Japan to win the gold medal. Laxman also won the individual gold with Mohta bagging the silver medal in the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi.

The quartet came face to face again last week in a memorable event for senior players in Bengaluru. The beautiful reunion came on the occasion of a seniors event, as they showed that their game still had the flag in sight.

The fact that the reunion came around the 35th anniversary of their memorable accomplishment made the coming together a special treat for golf fans.

The success of these four men provided much needed impetus to golf in India. The headlines and attention that surrounds Indian golf today owes a large debt to the feats of these four men.

But after nearly four decades since that definitive moment in the Asian Games, Indian golf is still dependent on a small number of golfers for bringing laurels to the nation.

“There is an emergent need to spread the game and expand its reach at the base of the pyramid,” said Amit Luthra. “Indian golf needs more young children to take to the game. We cannot expect consistent success on the international scene with just a few people playing the game.”

Luthra is currently running the Golf Foundation, the organization that supports up and coming golfers in India. Their most popular student is Shubham Jaglan, who has been inspiring awe with his stunning performances around the world.

“There is also an evident need for the government to step in and support golf. We lack public courses in India, keeping the game beyond reach for several young children,” added Luthra, as he spoke about the several inputs needed to take golf to the next level in India. “It is difficult for individuals or private investments to support golf in India. The government needs to play and active role in developing courses and building support systems to nurture young talent.

We have this culture in India of rewarding results. The focus needs to shift to supporting the efforts needed to produce champions.”

As Indian golf continues to scale new highs, it is indeed time for a collective effort in India to capitalize on the brilliant narratives of our current crop of champions. We cannot afford to let the momentum provided by stars such as Jyoti Randhawa, Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal, SSP Chawrasia, Anirban Lahiri, Shiv Kapur and Aditi Ashok, slip away. Golf could reach an entirely new and higher plane if we can create the ecosystem needed to produce more heroes through the game.

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