Rahul Bajaj, Silver Medallist, 2010 #AsianGames
August 23, 2018: International sporting events like the Asian Games, Olympics and the Commonwealth Games are a way for countries to showcase their strength and establish their power over the other nations of the world. Asian Games is one such event, India has had a long tryst with the Games, and for no reason unknown, it is the greatest sporting event after the Olympics and moreover, India sits as one of the founding members of the coveted event.
Golf, a relatively unknown sport to the masses of India holds one of the keys to India’s success at the Asian Games. Golf has the potential to win not only Team events but also individual Medals. Over the years, Indian contingents tryst with winning medals has been a fairly successful one.
The love affair started when Laxman Singh, fondly called ‘Bunny’ won the gold at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, the next one took two decades and was bought home by Shiv Kapur, who won Gold at Busan in 2002. I vividly remember gathering at the television to get a glimpse of this piece of history.
The team events have been a good play-ground for Indian players, India has thus far amassed three medals in the history of the Games in the Team events for men, making it a tally of 12 medals excluding the individual events. After Kapur’s Gold at Busan, Indian team went on to win two back to back Silver medals at the Asian Games, Doha ( Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar, JJ Chakola & Chiragh Kumar) as well as the Asian Games 2010, Guangzhou ( Rahul Bajaj, Rashid Khan, Abhijit Chadha & Abhinav Lohan).
The lull came after that in 2014, although the Team this year with Rayhan Thomas, Aadil Bedi, Hari Mohan Singh and Kshitij Naveed Kaul is a strong contingent and has raised hopes back again for India. The players on the team not only have a chance at the Team but also at some individual conquests.
Even though the individual medals might be less on the count, India is far ahead than where it would seem like it should be considering the popularity of the game in the country. Golf is a young sport and in the last decade has gone from strength to strength, from the growth of juniors, the games popularity among the masses and many international wins for the professionals.
Sadly, over the years women’s golf hasn’t brought home any medals, although by my own experience with travelling with the girl’s team as their coach recently to Singapore for a tournament and to play a few practice sessions in Jakarta, I can tell that the team we have this year around is surely a medal prospect for the country.
Who knows, we may be looking at not only a men’s prospect but the first ever Medal for Women at the Asian Games, Jakarta, 2018.