Indian golfer Rashid Khan, a two-time Asian Tour winner and the current leader on PGTI circuit, Sunday threatened to quit the sport and give up his Olympic dream if the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) doesn't allow him to use its facilities.
The DGC is one of the most popular venues for international events, where Rashid has often come close to winning and played a lot as an amateur before turning pro in 2010.
"It is important to practice to keep my game going well. I have been playing well, but I need to practice to keep it going," said Rashid, who was denied entry by DGC on Saturday.
"I know I can make it to the Olympic team. But I am so disappointed and disheartened by this attitude of DGC. I will quit if this issue is not sorted out. They are ready to use it for entertainment purpose but not for sports. From IAS officers to other bureaucrats, they allow everyone to use the course but not golfers like us," he said.
According to Rashid, a Supreme Court ruling of February 2017 allows them to use the course for practice, but the DGC is yet to follow the orders.
Time and again, Rashid has claimed the DGC has been discriminating against him and other golfers coming from humble backgrounds.
Though the DGC has said that they allow non-members to practice at certain hours, Rashid claims there is not enough daylight or time to play 18 holes.
DGC has not been available for comment, though they have said they are going by the rules of the club.
"I have a great chance to make the Indian team for Olympics. I am ranked behind only Shubhankar (Sharma), Gaganjeet (Bhullar), Anirban (Lahiri) and Chikka (S Chikkarangappa) and the gap is not very much. A couple of good results in India and on the Asian tour will fetch me enough points to catch up," he said.
"I am in good form. I have won two times since March, including two weeks ago in Chandigarh. They were strong events. I was 10th in Hero Indian Open, an event which is sanctioned by Asian and European Tours. I was the top Indian with Chikka and ahead of Shubhankar and even Anirban.
"With the PGTI season starting soon and also big events coming up on the Asian Tour, I need to train and practice and since a government ruling allows, I want to do that. But we are not allowed," he added.
Rashid was part of the Indian team that won an Asian Games silver medal in 2010 and soon after that he turned professional and has been one of India's top stars on the domestic circuit, where he is the leading professional this season. He has topped it in the past also.
"I was also carrying a Supreme Court ruling that states that we are allowed to practice there but still we were not allowed, so it's flouting of the top court ruling," he added.
On Saturday, Rashid and some other golfers turned up for practice and were ready to pay the Green fee (for non-members) and practice. But they were not allowed in and the gates were locked. Rashid tweeted photos of the players standing outside the DGC gate.
Later Rashid tweeted that he himself had to call the Police, who took him and his colleagues to Tughlaq Road Police station for questioning.
Rashid claimed he had called the Police to allow them in, but were taken to the Police station for questioning.
On Sunday, Rashid also tweeted, "No win is easy and without practice even more difficult. I was in police station from 15.00 to 18.30 hours, just because I was willing to pay green fees and practice at Delhi golf club. Don't know who to blame? My voice is getting muted and others who are the elite are taking the benefits."
A day earlier, he tweeted a picture of him and his colleagues in a vehicle and tweeted, "Arrested for calling the police to help us but we only got arrested at 3pm 25/05/2019 this what happens when you try to take help from our law it goes against you only #Olympic will be dream for me now.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)