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  5. Post Aditi Ashok's Tokyo Olympic success, golfer Anirban Lahiri wants more public courses in India

Post Aditi Ashok's Tokyo Olympic success, golfer Anirban Lahiri wants more public courses in India

Speaking ahead of The Northern Trust, a PGA Tour event beginning August 19 at the Liberty National Golf Course here, Lahiri said, "There's a whole conversation about public courses and public driving ranges.

IANS Reported by: IANS
Boston Published on: August 18, 2021 13:20 IST
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File Photo of Aditi Ashok

Top Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri made a strong pitch for public courses and public driving ranges in India in the wake of woman golfer Aditi Ashok coming up with a commanding performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where the 23-year-old missed the bronze by just one stroke, finishing fourth

Speaking ahead of The Northern Trust, a PGA Tour event beginning August 19 at the Liberty National Golf Course here, Lahiri said, "There's a whole conversation about public courses and public driving ranges… It's been going on now for easily over a decade. I've been a pro myself now for, well, 14 years, starting my 15th year now, and really haven't seen any more ranges or public courses that have come up (in India)

"I understand there are a lot of other challenges. There's a lot of premium to real estate and what we need to use it for. We have a lot of other challenges in our country, and I'm totally respectful of that, but it doesn't take a lot to have a small driving range. Liberty National itself, if you look at the history, was built on what used to be a garbage dump, and we have another couple of golf courses in America where we've had PGA Tour events, which has a similar history. So what's stopping us from maybe doing that?" said Lahiri, who had finished tied-42 at the Tokyo Olympics

Lahiri said there was a lot of scope for India to be able to take waste areas that were not going to really be of prime usage and convert it into something that could be constructive and meaningful for sport in general, and "golf is one of those sports"

"So the fact that there were so many eyeballs on golf, thanks to Aditi (Ashok), the way she played, the fact that a lot of people were talking about it and a lot of politicians and government officials were congratulating and waving about it, which I'm so glad to see. I'd love to see some action being taken towards having more of us, more athletes and other people who could go ahead in the future Olympics and do something meaningful for the country. We all know what a medal at the Olympics means to our country, but we also need to be able to develop on a grassroots level," said Lahiri

"You and I can't do as much at the grassroots level as the authorities can. So my tweet and my plea was more to do with that because there are opportunities. We don't have to make 400 acres sprawling luxury golf courses, but you could make three small ranges in areas that we have land that's not going to be used for something else, that nobody's stopping us from doing that, but somebody needs to take the initiative. That was what my plea was more about because that's where you're going to find the diamonds in the rough. That's where you're going to find the talent. You're not going to find it if there's nowhere for someone to go and even get introduced to the sport."

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