Walls come down

Manila Times - - Golf -

They cleared the way for more sports with squash, ten­nis and now golf hav­ing re­turned. For­mer Asian Tour win­ner and In­dian na­tional Digvi­jay Singh said ar­riv­ing in Pak­istan felt like home, sug­gest­ing sport could pave the road for bet­ter re­la­tions be­tween Is­lam­abad and Delhi.

“I am re­ally feel­ing home here and we are so over­whelm­ingly wel­comed here. We are see­ing the same faces not dif­fer­ent to us,” Singh told re­porters.

“Sports should bring the in­vis­i­ble walls down be­tween the two coun­tries,” he added.

In­dia-Pak­istan ties, in­clud­ing sports and cul­tural con­tacts, plum­meted af­ter deadly 2008 at­tacks in Mum­bai, which New Delhi blamed on Pak­istani mil­i­tants.

While cricket re­mains the undis­puted num­ber one sport in Pak­istan, golf is pop­u­lar with the coun­try’s pow­er­ful army, with mil­i­tary ar­eas where the top brass re­side fre­quently home to some of Pak­istan’s best cour­ses.

Pak­istan’s Navy are host­ing this week’s Asian Tour event, which has a $300,000 prize fund. “There is a very over­whelm­ing re­sponse by for­eign play­ers and that sur­prised us,” said Naval Com­modore Mush­taq Ahmed.

Pak­istan hosted its first Asian Tour event in 1989, which was won by Filipino Frankie Mi­noza.

The coun­try’s only Asian Tour win­ner re­mains Taimur Hus­sain who tri­umphed at an event in Myan­mar in 1998.

AFP PHOTO

For­mer Asian Tour win­ner and In­dian na­tional Digvi­jay Singh, speaks to me­dia in Karachi on Oc­to­ber 10. irds were re­leased over fair­ways and cer­e­mo­nial drives were struck as in­ter­na­tional golf re­turned to Pak­istan on Oc­to­ber 11 af­ter an 11-year ab­sence.

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