Asiad: Strong medal chance for India in men's golf
Jakarta, Aug 22 (PTI) Represented by a young and motivated squad, India stand in with a strong medal chance in the men's golf competition of the Asian Games, which begins here tomorrow.
Rayhan Thomas is the best ranked Indian in the men's golf team but Aadil Bedi and Hari Mohan Singh, son former India hockey star, MP Singh, have shown excellent form in recent weeks.
The fourth Indian, Kshitij Naveed Kaul, has spent a lot of time in Jakarta getting used to the Pondok Indah Golf Course here.
It looks extremely forgiving for the golfers with wide fairways and very little rough, meaning the scores should be low. The weather has been perfect and the early starters will have a definite advantage.
India boats of a young team with most of them in their teens. The men's team is represented by 18-year-old Thomas, Kaul (17), Bedi (17) and Singh (24), while the women's team has Sifat Sagoo (17), Ridhima Dilawari (20) and Diksha Dagar (17).
India won a bunch of medals when the sport made its debut at the ninth Asian Games in New Delhi in 1982 with gold and silver in individuals and gold in team event.
The next medal came from Shiv Kapur in 2002 at Busan, when he won the individual gold.
In both 2006 (Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Chiragh Kumar and Joseph Chakola) and 2010 (Rashid Khan, Rahul Bajaj, Abhijit Chadha and Abhinav Lohan), the Indians won a team silver.
At the 2014 Games, India narrowly missed a medal.
Though Thomas, at No. 19, is the third highest world ranked player in the field, Bedi and Singh have shown fine form while playing alongside professionals. The duo finished tied 22nd at the recent Take Solutions Masters in Bangalore. Bedi was also tied 14th at the LP Cup, an ADT event, also in Bangalore.
The men have a great chance to grab a medal, but the young women's team will find the going tough against the likes of South Korea, Thailand and China.
The Indian women have never won a medal at the Asian Games.