Photo - Asian Tour
NEW VISION FOR BLIND GOLFERS AT HANDA SINGAPORE CLASSIC
Singapore: Three blind golfers representing the International Blind Golf Association (IBGA) proved that people with disabilities can still lead a sporty lifestyle after taking part in a blind golf challenge that was organized ahead of the inaugural Handa Singapore Classic which tees off on Thursday.
The three-hole blind golf challenge is an initiative driven by the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS) Chairman Dr. Haruhisa Handa, who aims to raise awareness for blind golf through his sponsorship of the Handa Singapore Classic.
The challenge was held at the Orchid Country Club, host venue of the US$400,000 full field Asian Tour event and played over holes one, eight and nine at the Aranda course today.
England’s Neil Baxter, Malaysia’s Yam Ting Woo and Australia’s David Blyth were paired with Asian Tour’s Unho Park of Australia as well as Singapore’s Justin Han and Mitchel Slorach respectively who were all blindfolded to create a sense of realism.
“It was fun playing with these Asian Tour professionals as for once, it was a level playing field,” said Yam of the friendly challenge that was played in the Texas Scramble format.
“The major obstacle for me when playing blind golf is hitting the ball. I can only visualize where the ball is as I can’t see now. It’ll take quite a while for me to perfect it but I’m enjoying it,” added the 57-year-old Malaysian who lost his sight two years ago.
Han was full of praise for the blind golfers.
“It was a very difficult experience for me as I couldn’t even see anything with my blindfold today. I totally respect these guys and I hope we can further raise awareness of blind golf through activities like this,” said Han who will also be eager to put up a good showing in front of the home crowd when the event starts.
The Handa Singapore Classic will feature a stellar line-up of players including Asia’s number one Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing who will battle for top honours at the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Singapore Professional Golf Association.
The official charity for the event is the International Blind Golf Association (IBGA), which has built a close collaboration with ISPS through the support which Dr Handa provides for blind golf around the world.
The Handa Singapore Classic will be broadcast live over two days on many of the Asian Tour’s broadcast partners that includes StarHub Golf Channel in Singapore, Astro in Malaysia, ESPN Star Sport in India and PCCW in Hong Kong.