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India's Rashid Khan

Indias Rashid Khan
Golfer Rashid Khan (Source: Deccan Herald)

The Bridge Desk

Published: 13 Feb 2021 10:54 AM GMT

Indian cricket fans are well aware of the charisma of Rashid Khan the World no.1 T20 Allrounder from Afghanistan who has become quite a sensation in modern-day cricket. However, many doesn't know his namesake, the other Rashid Khan who is also a sporting hero in our country.

Rashid Khan is the highest-ranked Indian golfer in the world, who is raring to make a cut in the Olympic Games in Tokyo and have been eagerly waiting for the qualifiers. The 29-year-old Khan was poised to represent India at Tokyo 2020 had the Summer Games gone ahead as per plans. But with the postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic allowing others to catch up, Rashid Khan will have to ensure he stays on course for his Olympic debut.

Placed 252 in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), Rashid Khan continues to be among the 60 golfers eligible to compete at the Tokyo Games. But with the likes of Udayan Mane (290), Shubhankar Sharma (348) and Shiv Kapur (409) close on his heels, Rashid Khan realises his place at Tokyo 2020 is far from confirmed.

Rashid Khan (Source: Golfing India) Rashid Khan (Source: Golfing India)

Khan, who started playing golf on the insistence of his uncle Maqbool Khan, was a member of the Indian golf team which won the silver medal in 2010 Asian Games. The 29-year-old golfer, who turned professional the same year, has so far won eight PGTI Tour titles including the 2019 Chittagong Open in Bangladesh. In 2019, Khan had six top-five finishes which also included a second-place finish in Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational, where he lost to Ajeetesh Sandhu in the play-off. While Indian golfers like Shubhankar Sharma, Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar have been playing on the European Tour and PGA Tour, Khan have been playing in the Asian Tour.

The lockdown did not allow Khan to train for some months and with golf courses opening up, Khan would practice rounds at Golden Greens Golf Course and ITC Golf Course at Gurgaon apart from practicing near the banks of Yamuna river in Delhi. Khan also has not been allowed to train at Delhi Golf Club since 2018 due to ‘disciplinary’ issues.

Khan got embroiled in a controversy, surrounding him as nothing but merely arm-twisting by the golfer to acquire the “membership rights” of the club, for which the waiting period is over 30 years. The top management of the DGC alleged that the Delhi-based pro is “misguided” by a group of individuals, including a lawyer, who are using unscrupulous means to gain a foothold in the club. The club also rejected Rashid’s contention that he was being mistreated due to his “caddie” background, insisting the two-time Asian Tour winner was picked by an NGO, the Golf Foundation, under its junior program.

Also read: Former captain Ritu Rani led India to Olympics after 36 years but forgotten so early?

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