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regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

SSP Chawrasia hopeful of Paris berth, aims to focus on swing and avoid injuries

'Obviously, I have the Olympics in mind. All competitions that I will be taking part in, leading up to the Olympics, will determine the preparation. If I do well in those, I’ll automatically qualify for Paris,' the Indian golfer said

A Staff Reporter Calcutta Published 06.12.23, 10:11 AM
SSP Chawrasia, flanked by Manu Gandas (left) and Rashid Khan, with the trophy for the SSP Chawrasia Invitational golf tournament at the RCGC on Tuesday.

SSP Chawrasia, flanked by Manu Gandas (left) and Rashid Khan, with the trophy for the SSP Chawrasia Invitational golf tournament at the RCGC on Tuesday. Picture by Sayak Banerjee

The year hasn’t quite been a great one for SSP Chawrasia, but that doesn’t deter the India golfer from eyeing a berth at next year’s Paris Olympics beginning on July 26.

“Obviously, I have the Olympics in mind. All competitions that I will be taking part in, leading up to the Olympics, will determine the preparation. If I do well in those, I’ll automatically qualify for Paris,” Chawrasia said on the sidelines of the announcement of the second edition of the SSP Chawrasia Invitational golf tournament at the RCGC on Tuesday.

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The tournament begins on Thursday and concludes on Sunday. The Pro-Ams will be played on Wednesday.

If he does qualify, this will be Chawrasia’s second appearance at the Olympics, the first being Rio 2016.

“The preparation is already on. Also, we have to keep track of our world rankings in order to qualify for the Olympics and make sure we are well placed in terms of that.

“And for that to happen, we have to play in the Asian Tour events and do well in those. So, our preparation for those events have already begun, though we are not aware of the cut-off (for the Olympics) yet.

“Next week is the Asian Tour’s last tournament, in Saudi Arabia. Thereafter, in January, there’s the Q School event and from the third week (of January), the Tour starts again. So, when the new Tour begins, we’ll then come to know of the cut-off and after how many tournaments we need to play,” Chawrasia explained.

The 45-year-old is careful about not clogging his mind with thoughts about the Olympics. “No use taking extra pressure... Have been taking that kind of pressure for the last 25-26 years and on a continuous basis,” Chawrasia stated.

The tournament, named after him at the RCGC, will be Chawrasia’s first PGTI (Professional Golf Tour of India) event this year following the 17 competitions he has participated in so far, all of them abroad. For a better 2024, he’s focusing on swing (of the golf club) and ensuring a fresh mindset.

“I’ve learnt a lot even though the year wasn’t great... 2022 also didnt go too well. But you’ve got to just focus on your work.

“I’ve been working on the swing and a few other aspects. It’s a game, after all, so there will be fluctuations. Particularly when we’re going through a rough patch, we look to keep our heads down, practise hard and let that period phase out gradually.

“Mentally also, you need to find that edge. Our sport is totally about mind games, so we must keep the mind fresh. If not, you’re just not in the game.

“There are several small aspects in this sport which can affect you big. So, I need to train my mind as I sometimes feel I’m doing well in terms of the swing, but may not be focusing well mentally,” Chawrasia elaborated.

Playing only in the Asian Tour at present, Chawrasia sounds confident of regaining his touch in the coming season. “I’m quite positive, so I just look to strengthen my game physically and mentally.

“I look to keep up what I have been doing all these days: stay fit and avoiding injuries. At the end of the day, what matters is how you fare in the greens, but yes, fitness helps you prevail for a longer period of time,” he said.

Going back to the tournament beginning here on Thursday, defending champion Manu Gandas, Rashid Khan, Chikkarangappa, Udayan Mane and Khalin Joshi are among the participants. Sixteen-year-old Sukhraj Singh Gill from Canada is the youngest participant.

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