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    Rashid Khan, accused of indiscipline, denies DGC’s allegations; reaches out to Kiren Rijiju for help

    Synopsis

    India’s No. 1 golfer Rashid Khan refutes Delhi Golf Club’s allegation that he was indisciplined.

    Agencies
    Khan, the 2018 Asian Games silver medallist, acknowledges DGC shaped his career, but denies wrongdoing.
    The standoff between India’s No.1 golfer Rashid Khan and the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) is not ending. Keen to move on and practice for the Olympics, the Arjuna award nominee has written to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI). He also looped in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, rather optimistically. He has received no word from any of them.

    In January 2018, DGC accused the 29-year-old of indiscipline and creating a ruckus. Since then, the doors of the club, located conveniently near Khan’s home, have been shut for him. Khan maintains he is innocent.

    “They have stopped me from playing there saying I misbehaved, which is not true. They know I don’t have a place to practice now and want me to beg. There is no complaint against me on tour. Yet they have issues with me. I can’t travel every day to [a different course in] Noida, where I used to practice earlier, as the borders are closed [due to Covid-19],” Khan told ETPanache from his home in Delhi.

    “I tweeted a few days ago [about the issue] and Kiren Rijiju just liked my tweet. Golf courses are open since a month. It’s sad that members are allowed to play for leisure and professionals can’t while chasing Olympic berths.”

    ‘Fighting for the sport’

    When contacted, RS Bedi, president of DGC, didn’t respond. In an earlier interview to another publication, he said, “Khan and other golfers’ repeated attempts at causing disrepute to the club and causing ruckus virtually on a weekly basis led to getting them being banned by the general committee. No club or institution can survive if we allow hooliganism and indiscipline.”

    Khan, the 2018 Asian Games silver medallist, acknowledges DGC shaped his career, but denies wrongdoing. “A golfer in the top-10 can use any government golf course across India, according to the PGTI rules. But I was not allowed to even use the washroom and cafeteria. I had to go to the caddie section. There’s a court case on to secure our rights. I am fighting for the sport as there are a number of young golfers also who are suffering because of the ill treatment. They are just accusing me, there is no video evidence — just verbal allegations.”

    Time running out
    Khan is feeling the pressure as other players on the PGA and European Tours have started playing, while he is having to make do by knocking around on a patch of wasteland near his house. He hopes to qualify for the Olympics but worries he may not have enough practice on a course. “Getting a medal is tough, given my lack of practice. There’s a wasteland nearby where I play. It’s just 10 per cent of what I need to do. I’m trying to get my body into a routine. At least, I am swinging a club,” he said.

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