Sports

Thapa honoured with Lifetime Achievement

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 12, 2017-The first professional golfer of Nepal Ghanashyam Thapa, 69, was on Monday honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award during the Pulsar Sports Award for his six-decade long devotion towards golf.

Thapa, who turns 70 next month, started the golf journey as a ball boy at the Gauchar Golf Course--named as the Royal Nepal Golf Course today--at the tender age of 10 years. His entrance to the golf world was possible largely due to his father Min Bahadur who was in close contact with Nara Shumsher Rana and Kiran Shumsher Rana, considered as the pioneers of Nepali sports.

Thapa reminisces the early days of the golf course, which was double the size of the current course, saying: “We had to walk almost 10km a day and in return get 25 paisa.” Over the time, the course started to shrink due to the “encroachment” of Tribhuvan International Airport extension.

With a few years of joining the Gaucharan course, Thapa took to caddying and also took up the job of gardener. He was then remarkably handed the managerial job at the club even before finishing his school. “It was so hectic that I had to rush for the club in the afternoon after finishing my school,” remembers Thapa.

The love of the game prompted Thapa to seek a professional training in Delhi which helped him raise his game. He eventually turned pro, the first Nepali to achieve the feat, in 1968 and a year later in March took part in the India Open. “It was a big inspiration for me to play in the field (in Indian Open) that include the likes of five-time British Open champion Peter Thomas,” recollected Thapa of his first Indian Open experience. Thapa went on to represent Nepal in the 1975 and 1977 World Cups.

When golf at the Gaucharan came to standstill for around six months during the 1980s due to the Airport extension, Thapa met another golf enthusiast Shambhu Acharya, who was pondering to develop a temporary golf course at Tilganga region. Together with help from some prominent figures of the time, the duo managed to create a course and organised a few events tying up with Dharan.

Thapa also started mentoring golf enthusiasts from early 1980s with the-then Prince Dipendra Shah among his pupil. He also helped train the Army personnel before embarking on a reputed coaching career at the prestigious Bombay Presidency Golf Club.

Thapa was the president of the Nepal Professional Golfers Association (NPGA) for nine years since its inception in 1998. The NPGA has ever since organised several pro events, independently as well as under the Surya Nepal Tour events.

Published: 12-09-2017 09:07

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