Olympics 2021: How Diksha Dagar overcame hearing impairment to become India's star golfer

Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic – Day Two
Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic – Day Two
Aishwarya Kasibhatla

Golf might be considered one of the cushier sports by many, but it requires immense strength, patience and skills to play the game. The challenges double when the golfer has a disability to deal with. However, 20-year-old Diksha Dagar has beat the odds to become one of the top golfers in the country. The hearing-impaired golfer, who made it to the 2021 Olympics following a last-minute withdrawal, left for Tokyo on Saturday.

The door opened for Dagar after South Africa's Paula Reto withdrew, and Austria decided not to make a reallocation for their golfer Sarah Schober.

What makes Diksha's Olympic qualification special?

Diksha has had hearing problems ever since she was born. She started wearing hearing aids when she was six years old.

It's never easy to cope with disabilities, but gaining strength from it and channelising the energy to create history is empowering.

Diksha displays a brand of aggressive and fearless golf. Her brother Yogesh, who is also hearing impaired, plays the sport as well. Both her parents played a very important part in helping build her career. Diksha trained under her father, who helped her overcome the trauma of the disability and focus on golf. Her father, Narinder Dagar, is an ex-scratch golfer and also serves the nation as an army personnel.

β€œThe signs were there when she was just a few months old. She was not responding to sound. We had the same issue in the case of her brother and had a better idea about what needed to be done. Medical technology had also improved in the meantime,” Dagar said.

Diksha's parents encouraged her sporting abilities. Apart from golf, she is competent in tennis, swimming and athletics.

Diksha's mother told Indian Express:

β€œEarlier, I used to get very irritated when he (Narinder) left to play golf, especially as it would take four or five hours. But since I started accompanying Diksha to the course, I have begun to follow the game a bit, at least well enough to understand whether she is playing well or not.”

Diksha Dagar's addition to the team will strengthen the Indian golf squad at the Summer Games.

The International Golf Federation made the announcement via the Indian Golf Union (IGU). Diksha is all set to join Aditi Ashok, who is at her second Olympics. This will be Diksha's maiden Olympic appearance.

Diksha Dagar's career

Diksha turned professional in early 2019 and soon started winning competitions. She won the 2019 Investec South African Women's Open on her debut. She defeated three-time South African champion Lee-Anne Pace by one shot to become the youngest Indian woman to clinch the Ladies European Tour title at the age of 18.

In 2020, Diksha competed at the 2020 Dubai Omega Moonlight Classic tournament but could not win. Later that year, she participated in the Ladies Scottish Open, along with two fellow Indian golfers, Aditi Ashok and Tvesa Malik. This was the first time three Indians took part in a single event at the Ladies European Tour.

Diksha won the 2021 Aramco Team Series in London and became the second Indian female golfer after Aditi Ashok to win the Ladies European Tour more than once.

Diksha Dagar Major Achievements:

Ladies European Tour wins

2019 Investec South African Women's Open

2021 Aramco Team Series – London (team win)

Other wins

2017 Hero Women's Pro Golf Tour Leg 16

Diksha thanked the Indian Army, the Sports Authority of India, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian Golf Union, SAI and others for their support. She is looking forward to giving her best at the Summer games.

Also read: India in Tokyo Olympics 2021 India Schedule

Edited by SANJAY K K


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