NEW DELHI: Banned from the Delhi Golf Club, former Asian Games silver-medallist Rashid Khan and his colleagues have been forced to practice at a wasteland on the outskirts of the capital.
A two-time Asian Tour winner, Rashid has been banned by the DGC along with a group of golfers from practising at the course since last January due to disciplinary issues. To restore his playing rights, Rashid recently handed over a letter to DGC committee member Amit Luthra on June 3, but he is still waiting for a response from the club.
"We have been practising at this wasteland near the Noida toll for the last five months," a disappointed Rashid said.
"It is extremely difficult with this heat, it is impossible to train in the afternoon, so we go in the early morning and evening for a few hours." Last month, Rashid and nine other caddie-turned-golfers were detained by the police after being denied permission to enter the Club.
When Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju was asked about the ongoing feud between the club and golfers, he said: "I have to find out what's the rule of the club. Simply the ministry cannot tell the club to do this and that."Any sports facility in the country must be accessible to the players, otherwise what's the use of having a sports facility.
Having said that every sports facility has its own limitation, and it has to be managed and maintained in a professional way.
"Keeping in account the capacity of the stadium, the regulations, players should normally be, especially the professional players, facilities should be made accessible easily. Players should not struggle."
Radheyshyam Julaniya, sports secretary, said: "In the ACTC meeting, the federation has agreed that they will not stop the entries, players and civilians, whereas in the armed forces club, due to security reasons, they will put up a security guidelines, they will allow civilians in a limited way after verifying their antecedents."
Last January, Rashid, Arun Baisoya, Rohit Sharma, Rajat Baisoya, Sunny Nagar, Nikhil Sharma, Bharat Sharma and Chetan Baisoya were prohibited from entering DGC. Since then, the group has been trying to enter the club premises.
"It's been more then six months waiting outside the Delhi Golf Club. I request the media and government to please help us. Our career is at stake," Honey tweeted Wednesday.
"It has been extremely difficult for us to go day in and day out because, besides the heat, it is also dusty there. I guess once the metro work starts we will lose this piece of land too," said Honey, who is a winner of Indian Oil Servo Masters 2016 and 2017 PGTI Players Championship.
"If we don't play golf, we have to become a caddy or become a security guard perhaps to run our families," he added.
Rashid, who won a silver for India at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, said these banned golfers can't afford to pay the green fee and play in other courses so they have no option but to practice at the wasteland.
"I can still afford to pay and play at other courses. I have free entry at Noida Golf Course also but these PGTI players they don't have the money to pay the green fee of Rs 1500-2000 and train in any other course. So they practice there at the wasteland."