By Debayan Mukherjee
Kolkata, June 5 (SocialNews.XYZ) Rashid Khan, India's highest ranked golfer, on Friday said he is planning to write to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju asking for his help after missing out on crucial practice due to the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) denying him entry even after re-opening post the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Rashid and DGC have been at loggerheads since early last year when the two-time Asian champion had accused the DGC of discrimination, which, he said, was ruining careers of golfers like him coming from humble backgrounds.
Before the fourth phase of the lockdown, the government had announced opening of stadiums and sports complexes for athletes.
Rashid, the highest ranked Indian in Asia at 10th and the top Indian in the world at 185th, was at the forefront for sealing Olympic slots for India when International Golf Federation (IGF) decided to freeze rankings on March 15 due to the health crisis.
"I am planning to write to the Sports Minister within the next week," Rashid told IANS on Friday.
"The DGC President says we have to promote golf. But how are you promoting golf? When the top player in India is sitting at home and you are not even contacting him," fumed the 29-year old who is based out of Delhi.
"Just because I am not a member. So where will I practice? I don't have any other golf courses where I can practice. I can't travel to Noida or Gurgaon now. DGC is 3kms from my house."
Rashid, who missed an individual bronze medal by one shot, but helped the Indian team win a team silver in Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010, said he can get the best out of him only on a golf course and not being able to do that when he knows DGC is open, is mentally affecting him.
"I cannot get the best out of me if I am not practicing on a golf course. You need to see the numbers, you need to imagine like you are scoring and it's a match. That can only happen in a golf course.
"Mentally it is (affecting me). I haven't played a golf round for almost three months. Last tournament I played was Malaysia (Open) in the first week of March.
"Right now, it's mentally disturbing me as I like playing everyday. Now because of lockdown we all had to wait. It was the same situation for everyone. But now when golf courses are open, where should I go?
"The DGC golf courses are full functional and people are playing there. All the members are enjoying themselves...and I can't play (laughs)," he said.
Rashid, who has been recommended for this year's Arjuna Awards by the national federation, said he is also finding it difficult to assess his form due to total lack of practice.
"See I cannot assess my game now. Because I haven't played competitive golf or played on the golf course. Driving range, putting area and all...you can practice...but playing on the golf course means a lot. Once you play 18 holes your body is in shape," he added.