Lahiri, Shubhankar contribute generously to PM CARES fund

New Delhi, April 8: India’s Anirban Lahiri came to India planning to train a bit and then play the Hero Indian Open. The event got postponed and then things started moving at a very fast pace – Corona outbreak reached new levels, was declared a pandemic and then flights were cancelled and finally the lockdown.

Lahiri has not touched a golf club for more than two weeks, but is keeping fit with his regimen inside the house, Lahiri has been looking at how he can contribute and bring some relief to those afflicted to hit by Covid-19 and those hit by lack of jobs during the lockdown.

Lahiri pledged a donation of Rs.700,000 towards the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund last weekend. He said he wanted to help millions of people who survive on daily wages but are currently out of work following the lockdown.

Interestingly, Shubhankar Sharma, who is also training at home in Panchkula, has contributed Rs. 500,000 towards the fund. Sharma is maintaining fitness with a daily routine and has not stepped out since returning events on the European Tour in Oman and Qatar in late February and early March.

Lahiri, who has made Florida his base since he started he started playing on the PGA Tour, the world’s biggest and strongest professional golf circuit, has seldom spent as much time in India, as he has now. He is in Hyderabad, where his parents live. With him are his wife, Ipsa, one-year-old daughter Tisya.

With his golf set still in Ahmedabad, where he was training with coach, Vijay DIvecha, Lahiri is left with his Dad’s clubs in Hyderabad. But that is hardly something uppermost in his mind right now.

Lahiri, who lauded the appointment of Trevor Immelman as the captain of the International Team for Presidents Cup in 2021, said in one of his tweets, “In these grave times that we face today, I urge my friends and brethren to join me in doing our bit to support those in most need. I have pledged Rs.700,000 to the PM CARES Fund and also support 100 families through the Zomato Feeding India initiative. In any way, big or small, let us play our part in helping the nation. Jai Hind.”

The former Asian Tour No. 1, Lahiri has also sought to bring some respite via a new video cooking series aptly titled “Cooking with the Lahiris” on his social media channels. To date, Lahiri has uploaded two cooking lessons, which focuses on his favourite Indian dishes. His Twitter account is @anirbangolf and @banstaa on Instagram.

“We have food and shelter and our family is secure. Whatever we can do to make it easier for others, help these people and the government, let’s do it as very few entities are operational now. A lot of sports organisations and other Indian athletes are supporting this which is good to show solidarity,” said Lahiri, a former Asian Tour No. 1, by phone.

On his time in India, he added, “I haven’t spent so much time with my parents since I was 17 years old. It’s given me more perspective outside of golf. In fact, I don’t have my golf clubs with me now. It’s nice to hit the pause button and reflect on things which we wouldn’t normally do.”

Lahiri has been doing yoga practice. “I started yoga again …. It’s nice to see my body responding to it. I’ve not been disciplined with yoga over the last few years as golf has basically taken up all my time. When you play well, you kind of create more time to do things to support it and when you are not playing well, you spend time working on your game, putting or being at the range,” he said.

“I’m lucky I’m still flexible and I’ll be turning 33 in a few months’ time. If I devote the right amount of time and attention to it, I can see my body responding well and it helps with focus and balance. I’m pushing myself a bit more, which is a good challenge. It’s nice reconnecting with my body.”

When the current 2019-20 PGA TOUR Season came to a halt last month, Lahiri made five cuts from 12 starts, with a best finish of T44. His last top-10 was posted at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November, 2018 and Lahiri needed to regain his TOUR card through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals last season after finishing 178th on the FedExCup points list.

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