We need more events, sponsors: Sapkota

Kathmandu, December 17:

Teaching Pro in Germany Sabin Sapkota says the standard of golf in Nepal could be significantly raised by organising more tournaments backed by the private sectors.

“The key to the development of any sport is sponsor. We can achieve greater heights in couple of years if we are able to attract good sponsors into the sport,”

he told The Himalayan Times. “Signs are good as corporate houses are pouring in,” says optimistic Sapkota, who is a Teaching Pro at the Golf Club Dresden Elbflorenz along with his father Ritthe Sapkota.

Regarding professional golfers, Sapkota says the likes of Shiva Ram Shrestha and Toran Bikram Shahi were coming up strong. “Shiva Ram is a class player and is capable of competing in international circuits,” says Sapkota. Shiva Ram has already won the four of the five events held under the Surya Nepal Golf Tour 2008, while Shahi has been playing in the Indian Tour.

“Today we can say that golfing can be a profession in Nepal, thanks to the Nepal PGA, especially Deepak Acharya, who has done a lot of hard works to lead golf to the present state” he says. “In 2008 alone, five events have been already organised. Next year the NPGA is coming with a calendar which is good for golf as a whole,” he says.

Born on September 7, 1978, Sabin started playing golf at the age of four at Dharan Golf Club. His father, Ritthe, is the contemporary pro of Ghana Shyam Thapa, who is regarded as the first Nepali pro.

In 1989, Sabin finished second at the Dharan Club Championship and since then the sport has become his part of life. “When I finished second in the Club Championship, I became more interested and went on playing,” he reminiscences.

In 1995, Sabin represented Nepal in the Bangalore and Madras Open as an amateur, along with pros Pashupati Sharma and Ramesh Nagarkoti. “That was a turning point of my career as I got the experience of playing with the pros and decided to take the sport as a career,” he says.

During his three-month visit to Germany in 1997, Sabin won the Master’s Section trophy at the Zonal Tournament. “I was there (Germany) to visit my father and I won the annual event in my first appearance,” says Sabin.

In 1998, Sabin qualified for the Indian Tour and played there for the next three years. In 2001, he moved to Germany and started working as a teaching pro. Sapkota claims of providing training to 65 kids a week. Sapkota, meanwhile, is moving to Drei-Gleichen Golf Club Muhlberg in Erfurt on a three-year contract.

“I decided to switch as I wanted to join the Germany PGA from next year,” he says. “Once I join the Germany PGA, I will be in a position to help the Nepal PGA. I am planning to raise funds for the Nepal PGA and if things go as planned I will be bringing a team of 15 to 20 golfers to Nepal next November,” he says.