India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.
Golfer Shiv Kapur wins gold at the 2002 Busan Asian Games
India won the gold medal in golf at the Asian Games in Busan through the U.S.-based Shiv Kapur on October 6, 2002.
Kapur was nine months old when Laxman Singh clinched the first — and last — individual gold for India in golf at the 1982 Asiad in New Delhi.
As he ended India's medal drought in the sport at the Asiad Country Club, the shy and handsome Shiv Kapur was speechless. Indeed, he talked a lot later, exactly the way he allowed his clubs and irons to do all the talking in the beautifully laid-out course, despite tough conditions caused by persistent rain.
It was the kind of day which would have driven any golfer crazy. The rain, which began as a drizzle and ended in a torrent, slowed down the greens, but Kapur kept getting better with each passing hole.
In the end, the overnight joint leader was one of two players who returned with a two-par score of 70 on the final day, the fifth-placed Sung Mao Chang of South Korea being the other. This sizzling show left the Indianapolis-based student golfer ahead of the pack by a three clear strokes even as the other joint leader, Anura Rohana of Sri Lanka, returned with a one-over par to settle for silver. Behind the Sri Lankan, who had an aggregate of 287, was South Korea's Kim Hyun-Woo with 292.
Kapur's performance was not flawless in the final round. After beginning the outward journey with a birdie in the second hole, he was in trouble on the eighth when the ball rolled away far and wide as he attempted to putt from close. He was again pushed back into the wall on the par-5 ninth when his opening drive landed away from the fair-way and the retrieval shot found the bunker.
Kapur, however, remain unperturbed and fought back in brilliant fashion as he found his second birdie with a pile-driver and impressive putting. Fortune favoured Kapur at this stage as he kept his cool through the inward leg and found a birdie again on the par-5 11th.
When he birdied the 14th, with a splendid drive and a long putt, Kapur was overwhelmed with joy and pumped his fist. Maybe, he knew that the gold was his and India's.
Rohana, who played with the group that followed Kapur's batch, was well on course during the first-half of the outward leg before a bogey each in the treacherous eighth and ninth holes forced him to finish the initial nine holes with a score of two-over 36.
The Sri Lankan, however, did not give anything away as he found birdies in the 12th and 15th holes to keep the Indian camp guessing. However, Rohana could only par the next two holes and had a bogey in the final hole to give Kapur a well-deserved gold.
(The article was first published in The Hindu on October 7, 2002 )
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