| Chanidgarh |
Updated: February 8, 2020 12:01:44 pm
After completing his practice round at the Chandigarh Golf Club on Friday, 16-year-old Nepalese golfer Subash Tamang had a chance meeting with Gurvinder Singh, the caddie of 14-time International winner Jeev Milkha Singh. For somebody who worked as a ball boy for four years at the Royal Nepal Golf Course at Kathmandu, Tamang listened to Jeev Milkha Singh’s international wins from the caddie and then headed to the driving range at the club. The Nepal youngster had claimed the individual gold apart from team gold medal in golf in South Asian Games held in Kathmandu last December and Tamang is in Chandigarh to compete in the Sixth Maharaj Krishan Junior Golf Tournament.
“This was a chance meeting with Gurvinder sir and the local golfers told me about Chandigarh Golf Club being home to Jeev Milkha Singh, one of Asia’s most successful golfers. To practice and compete in a tournament at Chandigarh Golf Club is a special feeling for me. The course here is bit longer as compared to the golf courses in Nepal. Hitting the ball well and the iron play will be the key to post low scores here and hopefully I can return with a trophy after my first visit to India,” says Tamang.
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With his father Uttam Tamang working as a daily wage labourer and mother Sanu Maya Tamang physically challenged at his native village Chungjasom in Lalitpur district in Nepal, a young Tamang would play local sports in the village before he was sent to Kathmandu in 2013 to help his aunt to manage work and her newborn baby. With his cousin Binod Tamang working at the Royal Nepal Golf Club, Subash met Deepak Thapa Magar, the course’s head professional and was offered a job of ball boy at a daily wage of 25 Nepalese rupees. After one year of working as ball boy, Tamang was spotted by Tashi Dhale, president of Nepal Golf Association and was inducted into the junior programme at the club and also continued working as ball boy.
“I was not good at studies and had seen my father struggling to make ends meet at our native village. When I was sent to Kathmandu to help my aunt, I knew I had to do a job. To get the opportunity to work as ball boy at the Royal Nepal Golf Course meant that I could save money and send to my home. I would watch the professional players practicing swing and I learnt the basics of golf while talking with caddies. The induction in the junior programme would mean that I would work as ball boy from 8 am to 3 pm and then practice on weekdays, apart from attending the junior programme on Saturday. The training helped me understand that I am equal to all those playing on the golf course,” shares the youngster, who dropped out of school in fourth grade.
Tamang won the Surya Nepal Challenge junior event before winning the Faldo Series Asia Nepal Championship in January last year, a win which also earned him a ticket to Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in Vietnam, where he finished 28th. Prior to the China event, Tamang claimed his first Nepal tour title in the form of Surya Nepal Challenge. Last year, Tamang had two top-five finishes before becoming the South Asian Games champion. “Competing in the junior tournaments in the Nepal Golf Tour gave me a lot of confidence and the title win in the Faldo Series Asia Nepal Championship and Surya Nepal Challenge made me believe that I can win more such tournaments. When I won the two gold medal games in South Asian Games, my parents saw my interviews on TV and they had a celebration in the village. They still don’t understand the game of golf but to see me win the medal for the country made them proud,” shares the golfer.
The golfer is now supported by the Nepal Army Golf Course, where he stays in a dormitory along with other trainees. The twin gold medals in South Asian Games, where he edged out Bangaldesh’s Mohammed Farad to win the individual gold apart from teaming up with Sukra Bahadur Rai, Niraj Tamang and Tanka Bahadur Khirki to win the team gold, also meant that a cash prize of 25 lakh Nepalese rupees was announced by the Nepal government. “Golf has given me everything and it motivates me to achieve more. I plan to spend the award money on the education of my younger brother Arjun Tamang and help my parents to upgrade our two-room tin shed mud house to a brick house. I have also heard about Chandigarh hosting the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational Challenge and hopefully I can play in the tournament one day,” shares Tamang, who won the Faldo Series Asia Nepal Championship in Kathmandu early this month.
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