14 May, 2018: India finished sixth in the Queen Sirikit Cup, one of the most sought after events in ladies amateur golf. Diksha Dagar and Anika Varma gave a good account of themselves, ending the week in T5 and 19th places respectively. Thai prodigy Atthaya Thitikul added yet another feather to her cap with a comfortable three stroke victory over Yuna Nishimura.
Top amateurs from 14 nations — Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea and Thailand — took part in the event.
Golfing Indian caught up with Champika Sayal, Secretary General, Women’s Golf Association of India after the event.
What was the experiencd is like and the Queen Sirikit cup?
Champika: The 40th edition was a real landmark championship for the Asia-Pacific region. For me personally having played the 3rd edition,the game has evolved. The winning score for amateur girls says it all. At -13 it was won by local Thai prodigy Atitikul who won her first Pro event in 2017.
The game has become a lot easier with R&A’s decision to allow use of DMD’s Device Measuring Devices, Golf ball & Equipment technology at their helm. The camaraderie within the 15 participating nation is exemplary. It is wonderful to see so many players from the Queen Sirikit Cup playing professional tours in USA, Europe and the Asia-Pacific area.
How would you say the Indian team and the players lineup at this moment?
The Indian team did extremely well with a 6th position finish. Our players Diksha Dagar was tied at 1st position after day one with a score of 4 under par. In the final round both Diksha and Anika Varma finished for a team score of 6 under par for the 6th position. Day three was truly a magnificent fight back.
In fact this has been the best single day performance by Indian girls in a team event. India was able to get ahead of golfing nations such as Australia & New Zealand which was remarkable. 2018 is another exciting year for golf. The Asian games are in Indonesia in August. India has a very good chance of a podium finish . In the team event two strong players are Riddima Dilawari and Sifat Sagoo will be Diksha Dagar’s team mates. This trio is hard working so the result will be solid.
What is your perception of how 2018 rollout for female players?
Personally I believe that Aditi Ashok is knocking at the door for couple of good wins in the later half of the year. Sharmila Nicollet made a good come back with a tied 16th position at the Hongkong Ladies Open that finished earlier today. The girls are doing their best in a very, very competitive global arena. The Hero Women’s Indian Open is the week 18th to 21st October this year. It would be good to see an Indian winner again after Aditi Ashok who won the title in 2016.
Have you seen a difference in approach by institutions and governments to women’s golf in the light of young women performing very well across all sports in India?
There is no doubt in my mind that there is great optimism being shown towards women sports & spokespersons. The Performance by females across differ ent games has been heartening. The MYAS has ensured that its time to grow, recognize and reward women in sports.