My son is role model for the nation, says Milkha Singh

By Alkesh Sharma, IANS,

Chandigarh : Legendary athlete Milkha Singh feels that his golfer son Jeev is the new face of Indian sports and has made the country proud with his extraordinary performance last year.

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“This is the biggest happiness ever for me and my wife that our son is continuously performing better at international level. The entire country is proud of his achievements. He has emerged as a role model for the nation,” Milkha Singh told IANS on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony for his son at the Chandigarh Golf Club (CGC) here.

The CGC is the place where India and winner of Asian tour’s Order of Merit winner Jeev honed his skills.

The club honoured Jeev Sunday by unveiling his portrait at the club in the presence of the ace golfer and his family.

“There were perceptions among Europeans and Americans that Indians did not know golf, leave alone win international tournaments. My son proved has them wrong,” said Milkha.

Jeev studied at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, where he excelled in various sports. Whether it was cricket, athletics or boxing, Jeev gave his best. Though, he finally opted for golf.

“I wanted Jeev to become doctor or an engineer but after seeing his talent and interest in golf, I dropped that idea. There is immense talent in this region and my son will start an academy to train young golfers,” Milkha Singh said.

Jeev achieved his career-best ranking of 36 by winning four titles in 2008.

He started the year by ending his 18-month drought with the Bank Austria title and then went on to triumph at the Singapore Open. He also won two tournaments on the Japan Tour. He also registered his best performance in Majors with a tied ninth finish at the PGA Championships, the best by an Indian. This year he also became the first player in Asian Tour history to cross $1 million in a single season.

Jeev said he has a strong bonding with CGC.

“This is the place where I had my initial lessons of golf. Whenever I am in Chandigarh, I always make it a point to visit here and still enjoy playing on its grounds,” he said.

“I am happy with this gesture of the CGC. I am ready to impart any help or support that CGC needs from me in future. I have a busy schedule in 2009 and right now I am taking a short break and spending time with my family,” said Jeev.

CGC president D.S. Bains said they were proud of the fact that Jeev learnt his golfing skills here.

“After training at CGC, Jeev won his first championship, ‘British Aerospace Juniors’ at the age of 13 at the Delhi golf club. With this he also won a three-month coaching stint in England and then there was no looking back for him,” Bains said.