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

Transcript

00:00
I think my entire life it's always been about
00:03
trying to see how good I can get
00:06
without putting a limitation on what that might be
00:09
and without limiting myself to believing
00:11
that this is my best.
00:13
(energetic music)
00:22
The first time I ever stepped on a golf course
00:26
I was probably three and a half.
00:28
That was the first time my dad ever went to the golf course.
00:32
Yeah, my dad served in the Indian army as a doctor.
00:35
Thanks to that I had access
00:36
to a lot of golf courses in India
00:38
'cause most of the golf courses
00:40
are owned by the Defense Services
00:42
between the Army, Navy, and Air Force
00:44
so I was lucky that with it I got exposed to the sport.
00:47
Well I think my mom's kind of like the stabilizer,
00:51
the foundation right through my life.
00:54
She's a professor in English Literature,
00:58
loves to teach and has always been there
01:01
off the golf course whenever I've needed her.
01:03
So like I said, my dad served in the army
01:05
and one of the things that comes along with that
01:08
is that you move every two and a half to three years
01:11
so I grew up playing on various army courses
01:15
from Far West to East to South to the middle of the country.
01:21
But when I got serious about my golf
01:23
I moved to Bangalore where my coach
01:25
Vijay Divecha is based in Eagleton.
01:29
And I was about 17 and a half back then.
01:31
I lived there, I practiced there, I played there,
01:33
and I worked on getting better there
01:35
so that's kind of like my second home
01:37
and it's a very special place for me.
01:41
Today you have a lot of kids preparing
01:44
to become professional golfers
01:46
from 10 or 12 years of age.
01:48
It wasn't the case with me.
01:49
It kind of just happened.
01:50
Like when I went back this year to play the Indian Open
01:53
I had never seen so many kids come out
01:55
to an Indian Open before.
01:59
What we do for a living is hard
02:01
and we do it, most of us, primarily for selfish reasons.
02:05
You're trying to do the best you can
02:07
for your family or your career
02:10
but when that affects the aspirations or the imagination
02:14
of kids in the next generation back home
02:17
it gives you more.
02:18
It gives you a bigger purpose.
02:21
I think for me the importance of playing the Olympics,
02:24
it outweighs a lot of the other factors
02:28
that some of the other players
02:30
are taking into consideration which are quite valid.
02:34
But as a sport, in India, golf is not huge.
02:39
The Olympics as a sporting spectacle is huge
02:42
and to have golf as a part of the Olympics
02:46
gives me a great chance, a great opportunity
02:50
to actually go out there and play my heart out
02:52
for my country which is again something
02:55
that you don't get to do often
02:57
and actually making a difference
02:59
to how people may perceive the sport back in India
03:02
because so many people are watching
03:03
so that for me is way more important than anything else.
03:08
(energetic music)
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