Sri Lanka Golf on the rise with young people in the foreground | Print edition

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Taniya Balasuriya (L), SLGU assistant national coach Pradeep Kumara (C) and Chanaka Perera (R) during practices underway at Victoriya G&CR in Digana

The Sri Lanka Golf Union (SLGU) has developed elaborate plans to complete a comprehensive schedule in the coming months to improve the standard of golf in Sri Lanka. COVID-19 has delayed proposed programs. The SLGU, together with the Sports Ministry, the National Olympic Committee and health authorities, have plans to speed up delayed tournaments in the coming months.

Rising stars and youngsters MU Chanaka Perera and Taniya Balasuriya have been selected to represent Sri Lanka at upcoming events to be held in the Middle East.

Sri Lanka Golf Union will send two players to participate in the upcoming Asia-Pacific golf tournaments for men and women to be held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively. The men’s tournament will take place in Dubai from November 7-14, while the women’s tournament will take place in Abu Dhabi from November 15-21.

MU Chanaka Perera will start in the men while Taniya Balasuriya will take part in the women. Both golfers were invited under their World Amateur Handicap rankings. Young Vinod Weerasinghe, also a rising star, has been invited to participate in the men’s category, but due to unforeseen circumstances he will not travel to Dubai.

SLGU has finalized various teams which will be subjected to an arduous training program over the next few months. National, Development and Junior teams will undergo on-course training in addition to supervised physical training.

“Plans are in place for golfers, both men and women, to be at their best by the middle of next year to put in a strong performance at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. The 2022 Asian Games where golf will be a sport will be held in November. SLGU will register four male golfers and four female golfers to compete in the individual and team events, ”said Michael Perera Magala, President of SLGU.

“Plans are underway to host the Sri Lanka Ranking Tournaments in November and December and conclude the prestigious 132 Sri Lanka Amateur Championship and Sri Lanka Open in January 2022. We are moving towards a Unified Global Handicap System and accepted worldwide for all golfers. with the support of all golf clubs in Sri Lanka. It will be a beneficial decision for all golfers in Sri Lanka, ”said Ranil Peiris, Vice President of SLGU.

The lack of golf courses has been a setback for young golfers to jump into the game, although Sri Lankans have been blessed with high hand-eye coordination. Run by the Royal Colombo Golf Club and ably supported by the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, Victoria Golf Club- Digana, Eagles Golf Club- Trincomalee and Shangri-La Golf Club- Hambantota, have all lent their support in their voluntary service to the Golf Union by expanding their facilities to improve golf in Sri Lanka. Women’s golf is on an increasing trend with many young players entering the game with the help of Ms. Anouk Chitty. We intend to do a solid performance at the next Asian Games, ”he added.

Junior golf is an area that has been the focal point and Niloo Jayetileke aims to attract many new talented players.

“Royal and Ancient in Scotland have a support program that has been beneficial in this area. Five tournaments are held for juniors each year and plans are underway to partner with an Indian golf group to expand this program to reach greater heights, ”Jayetileke said.

The initial plans are made and the Sports Department has been approached to build a golf course for the SLGU, which is a very felt need.

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