Exclusive: Asian Games gold medalist Lakshman Singh urges Indian golf team unity for a podium finish at Hangzhou
The seven-member Indian team will be battling it out for four gold medals at the multi-nation event.
India’s first-ever Asian Games gold medallist in Golf, Lakshman Singh is confident that the team comprising of Anirban Lahiri, Shubhankar Sharma, SSP Chawrasia, Khalin Joshi, Aditi Ashok, Pranavi Urs, Avani Prashanth have all the ingredients to clinch medals at Hangzhou.
Singh was the first individual gold medallist in golf at the Asian Games after it was introduced in the 1982 edition staged at New Delhi. The Indian quartet of Lakshman Singh, Rajiv Mohta, Amit Luthra and Rishi Narain had also clinched the team gold at the iconic Delhi Golf Club. Mohta claimed the individual silver medal.
The seven-member Indian team, including four men and three women, will be battling it out for four gold medals in the men’s team, men’s individual, women’s team and women’s individual categories at the West Lake International Golf Course in Hangzhou for the prestigious Asian Games beginning September 28 (Thursday).
Seasoned campaigner Lahiri is the only member in the team to have won a medal – team silver along with Gaganjeet Bhullar, Chiragh Kumar and Joseph Chakola – at the 2006 edition of the quadrennial event in Doha, Qatar. He also represented India twice at the Olympic Games – at 2016 Rio along with Chawrasia and 2020 Tokyo partnering Udayan Mane.
Aditi made the countrymen wake up in the wee hours and take notice by posting a stupendous fourth-place finish in the women’s event at the Tokyo Olympics which also saw her offering a stiff challenge to World No. 1 Nelly Korda, the eventual winner.
“I think it’s a very strong team, but don’t forget there are a lot of other countries too who bring in some good things. You saw what happened at the Olympics? Aditi Ashok played superbly and even shared the lead after three days. I think she was leading too for a while…
I do wish the very best for them and I think they’ll do well. But Golf is a strange game. I just hope all of them play well at the same time. That’s the most important thing. There’s no point in one person playing well in this format,” Lakshman Singh told Khel Now on the sidelines of the Trinity Golf Champions League launch ceremony.
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“Everyone sort of playing well at the same time giving the team the required impetus that’s what it’s all about. That’s where we scored during the 1982 Asiad. Between Rajiv Mohta, Rishi Narain and myself, there was only a shot difference. All three of us played very, very well. We won the team gold by a 14-stroke margin over South Korea, one of the golfing powerhouses. Japan finished third,” added the septuagenarian hailing from Jodhpur.
The Indian team had last won a medal 12 years ago through the quartet of Rashid Khan, Abhijeet Singh Chaddha, Rahul Bajaj and Abhinav Lohan in Guangzhou, China. The team had won a silver medal that time and a medal has eluded the nation thereafter.
“It’s just a question of striking and playing well that week. Because if you look at it, our ladies have done very well around the world – Aditi, Pranavi and Avani. As far as the men’s squad is concerned, a lot of our players still haven’t reached the level of SSP Chawrasia as yet (Chawrasia is a four-time European Tour winner). Anirban (plies his trade on the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf Tour) and Shubhankar are doing well in international events. Joshi is an up-and-coming golfer and also doing very well on the Asian Tour. So let’s see, I just hope that all four click at the same time,” he signed off.
All eyes will be on the Indian team as both the men’s and the women’s squads will battle it out for four gold medals in Hangzhou from September 28 to October 1.