Indian team leaves for Sirikit Cup

NEW DELHI, MAY 8. The Indian team for the Queen Sirikit Cup women's golf tournament, left here for Taipei on Monday.

The team comprises the No. 1 woman and junior star, Irina Brar of Chandigarh, and Anjali Chopra and Shailini Malik, both from Delhi. Ms. Champika Sayal, Chairperson, Indian Golf Union Ladies Section, is the non-playing captain.

The Indian team is sponsored by the IGULS, with assistance from the Sports Authority of India. Adidas, in a generous support to women's golf, has kitted the team members.

The Sirikit Cup is to be played at the Lin Kou Golf Course, outside Taipei, from May 10 to 12. The event is played on an open stroke-play format. Strong contenders Korea and Chinese Taipei apart, the competition will also feature teams from Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

The Indian team selection had run into some controversy in March when two of the top golfers, Parnita Garewal and Vandana Agarwal, had skipped the selection trials held here. Parnita had cited her pre-occupation with examinations as the reason for missing the trials while Vandana had given a medical reason. The IGULS was unhappy that Vandana chose to play the pro- am event of the Indian Open here shortly after that.

To begin with, the IGULS had decided not to enter a team in the Sirikit Cup this year since in its opinion the standards of the golfers had not reached the levels expected. The `benchmark' of 12-under average was brought down to 16-under and yet it was found that no one was making the grade. However, on second thoughts, a decision was taken that a team could be sent, but there should be selection trials.

The trials led to the controversy as Parnita and Vandana felt that as No. 2 and No. 3 respectively they deserved automatic selection. Irina Brar, being the No. 1, by a long shot, had been given exemption from the trials and perhaps that added to the controversy. The last might not have been heard on the issue, though, for the moment, Parnita and Vandana are out of the team.