I Am An Olympian: Anirban Lahiri
Anirban Lahiri, the new face of golf in India, on how he defied the odds to become a top 50 in the world golfer and why playing in the Olympics might be the most important thing he ever does.
Released on 8/4/2016
I think my entire life it's always been about
trying to see how good I can get
without putting a limitation on what that might be
and without limiting myself to believing
that this is my best.
The first time I ever stepped on a golf course
I was probably three and a half.
That was the first time my dad ever went to the golf course.
Yeah, my dad served in the Indian army as a doctor.
Thanks to that I had access
to a lot of golf courses in India
'cause most of the golf courses
are owned by the Defense Services
between the Army, Navy, and Air Force
so I was lucky that with it I got exposed to the sport.
Well I think my mom's kind of like the stabilizer,
the foundation right through my life.
She's a professor in English Literature,
loves to teach and has always been there
off the golf course whenever I've needed her.
So like I said, my dad served in the army
and one of the things that comes along with that
is that you move every two and a half to three years
so I grew up playing on various army courses
from Far West to East to South to the middle of the country.
But when I got serious about my golf
I moved to Bangalore where my coach
Vijay Divecha is based in Eagleton.
And I was about 17 and a half back then.
I lived there, I practiced there, I played there,
and I worked on getting better there
so that's kind of like my second home
and it's a very special place for me.
Today you have a lot of kids preparing
to become professional golfers
from 10 or 12 years of age.
It wasn't the case with me.
It kind of just happened.
Like when I went back this year to play the Indian Open
I had never seen so many kids come out
to an Indian Open before.
What we do for a living is hard
and we do it, most of us, primarily for selfish reasons.
You're trying to do the best you can
for your family or your career
but when that affects the aspirations or the imagination
of kids in the next generation back home
it gives you more.
It gives you a bigger purpose.
I think for me the importance of playing the Olympics,
it outweighs a lot of the other factors
that some of the other players
are taking into consideration which are quite valid.
But as a sport, in India, golf is not huge.
The Olympics as a sporting spectacle is huge
and to have golf as a part of the Olympics
gives me a great chance, a great opportunity
to actually go out there and play my heart out
for my country which is again something
that you don't get to do often
and actually making a difference
to how people may perceive the sport back in India
because so many people are watching
so that for me is way more important than anything else.