Golf was first inducted into the Asiad programme in 1982 New Delhi Asian Games. Indian golfers wrote a glorious chapter in the Indian Golf history when they won the team gold and almost made a clean sweep of the individual medals. After making a moderate start on the first day, the Indian team consisting of Lakshman Singh, Rishi Narain, Amit Luthra and Rajeev Mohta, snatched the initiative on the second day and continued their good work in the remaining two rounds to end up with an aggregate of 878. This not only fetched them 14-stroke lead over nearest rival South Korea but also the coveted gold medal. South Korea took the silver with 892 and Japan, the bronze with 900.
Lakshman Singh who turned in steady and excellent performance through out the tournament, won the individual gold medal with a four-day tally of 4-over 292. His team mate Rajeev Mohta took the silver finishing three strokes behind him. The bronze medal went to Pre-Games favourite, Tetsuo Sakata of Japan. Rishi Narain finished fourth.
Four years later at Seoul Asian Games, Indian golfers finished a poor sixth in the team event and none of them were among the first ten in individual ranking. They were 30-stroke behind gold medalist South Korea who had a combined tally of 878. Japan won the silver and Philippines the bronze. In individual competition Rajeev Mohta finished 11th, Alan Singh 13th, Anirudh Sharma 23rd and Uttam Singh Mundi 27th.
India finished fifth among 13 countries in 1990 Beijing Asian Games. Amandeep Singh Johl who gained seventh position was the best Indian performer in the individual event. The other members of the team were – Gaurav Ghei, Chiranjeev Milkha Singh and Vivek Bhandari. This was the youngest ever team that represented India in any international team event. The average age of the team was well below 20 years with Gaurav Ghei being the oldest at 22.
India moved to fourth position at Hiroshima in 1994. Individually Jyoti Randhawa secured 9thposition with Amit Luthra finishing 12th, Harmeet Kahlon 13th and Anitya Chand 32nd. In 1998 at Bangkok Indian team retained the fourth place. In individual competition Digvijay Singh was placed 6th, Harmeet Kahlon 10th, Amit Luthra 17th and Amit Dubey 31st. India also entered her women team for the first time in these Games. The team represented by Parnita Grewal, Nonita Lall Qureshi, Anjali Chopra and Urvashi Sethi finished fifth in team competition. In individual event the best performance came from Parnita Grewal who ended up with a score of 305 and 11th place.
The golden moments came again at 2002 Busan Asian Games. After a long gap of 20 years, the young golfing hero Shiv Kapoor brought this glory to the nation by winning gold medal in the individual event. He played sparkling golf through out the 4-round contest and in the end had three-stroke lead over silver medalist Rohana Anura (287) of Sri Lanka. In the team event India finished fourth. The other members of the team were – Keshav Mishra, Harinder Gupta and Manav Das.
In the next Asian Games at Doha, Indian Men’s team did country proud by winning the silver medal behind South Korea. Maintaining consistency in score with 210, 211, 211 and 217 in the four-round contest, Indian team finished 15 under par in aggregate and left Chinese Taipei, a solitary point behind. The Indian team comprised of Gaganjeet Bhullar, Joseph Chakola, Chirag Kumar and Anirban Lahiri. In individual event, Gaganjeet was placed 7th with a score of 283 while Chirag Kumar 11th (285), Anirban 14th (286) & Joseph Chakola 18th (290).
The women’s team comrising of Meghna Bal, Sharmila Nicollet, Vaishavi Sinha couldn’t improve upon their previous performance and finished 6th in team standing. Individually Meghna bal was the toast of the Indian contengent finishing 9th with a total of 281. Vaishavi Sinha and Sharmila Nocollet were placed joint 16th securing a score of 299.
The Indian Men’s team repeated the performance of Doha Games at Guangzhou in 2010. The awesome quartet of Rashid Khan, Abhijit Chaddha, Rahul Bajaj and Abhinav Lohan did well to claim silver medal behind defending champion South Korea. A four-round aggregate of 874 brought this glory to the Indian team in a field of 17 teams. Rashid Khan missed the bronze medal by two points in individual event and finished joint 4th with two other golfers. Abhinav Lohan was placed 9th while Rahul Bajaj a poor 39th.
Women’s team consisting of Shreya Ghei, Vani Kapoor, Gurbani Singh didn’t come up to the expectations and finished 9th among 10 competing nations. In individual event, the picture was no different with Shreya Ghei grabbing 22nd place (318) followed by Vani Kapoor 23rd (321) and Gurbani Singh 24th (323).
|… by Arun Arnaw Khare|