What's the story?
In case you didn't know
Golf at the Tokyo Olympics is restricted to 60 players for both the men's and the women's competitions.
The International Golf Federation (IGF) would be using the official world golf rankings to determine the eligibility criteria. The top 15 ranked golfers in the world will qualify for the Olympics with a maximum limit of four players per country. Beyond that, 2 players per country would be eligible to participate till a maximum of 60 players is reached based on the World Golf Rankings.
As per the current golf rankings, Rashid Khan (Ranked 53) and Udayan Mane (Ranked 60) are the top two Indian male golfers in the Olympic golf rankings.
The heart of the matter
Leading Indian golfer Shiv Kapur is aspiring to qualify for the golf event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Although he is not one of the top 2 ranked Indian golfers at the moment, he is hopeful of making the cut as there is still a long way to go for the qualification period to end.
The ace Indian golfer is practicing hard and has also switched to a gluten-free diet to improve his fitness. Kapur had undergone a liver surgery in 2016, post which he continued to have problems with his metabolism and had frequent stomach upsets and pain. After he moved to Dubai in 2019, he had discussions with specialists and realised that his body was gluten intolerant as was reported recently.
“My whole training regime has changed after shifting to Dubai. I have my trainer Alistair Parlane and coach Shane Gillespie there. Also my old friend Sujjan Singh trains me as he is also an instructor there and I have a very structured programme now. I have been working more on the fitness side of things. I never felt that I had intolerance to glutens before undergoing various tests and talks with experts in the field. I have incorporated a gluten-free diet since the last two months and I have lost more than 4kgs and I feel better. From being a heavy non-vegetarian person I completely turned vegan. I feel more active, fitter and stronger physically now. I am able to train for longer hours than before and the body recovers faster too. I must say I am really happy with it. Many people have told me that I am looking fitter”
Shiv is currently preparing for the 2020 Hero Indian Open that will be held from 19th to 22nd March in Gurugram. The tournament, which is a co-sanctioned event of the Asian and European Golf Tour, will have a lot of ranking points on offer. A good finish there and in the other events would enable him to move up the ladder in the Olympic Golf rankings.
“As far as preparation goes, I feel most ready than I have felt in a long time. It’s kind of a second wind for me as I am 38 now. I see at least half a decade left in me and I want to keep going and ensure that these young guys (Shubhankar Sharma, Udayan Mane) instill enough fight in me. Preparation wise I am in a good space. Nothing changes in my game. I have been knocking on the doors of the Indian Open since some time and hope that this time I can turn it around."
Kapur, the 2002 Asian Games gold medalist, aims to qualify for the British Open this year and wants to represent India at the Tokyo Olympics. He will leave no stone unturned to realise this ambition.
"I am trying to minimise my travel and working my way back. I only come to India to visit my family. I usually play in Europe during summer, this time the goal will be to clinch a British Open berth and to play for India in the Olympics. There are still 16 weeks left for the Olympic cut-off and it is anybody’s game. It is a matter of one good week, till two weeks back nobody was talking about Udayan and now he is 60th on the qualification rankings, that’s how quickly things can change. Next three-four months are pretty crucial for everyone, whoever plays well in this period will make the team. Hopefully that’s me"
Shiv Kapur will be participating in multiple tournaments in the European and Asian circuit in order to improve his rankings and ensure qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.
But it will not be an easy road for as he will up against a host of young and aspiring Indian golfers apart from the veterans like Anirban Lahiri, Arjun Atwal and Gaganjeet Bhullar who would also be putting their best foot forward to qualify for the Tokyo Summer Games.