PETALING JAYA: Former Malaysian Open champion Anirban Lahiri (pic) has a heart of gold.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Indian golfer, who won the Malaysian Open in 2015 and finished third in the CIMB Classic the following year, has not touched a golf club for over two weeks but is touching the lives of the unfortunate.
Currently in Hyderabad with wife Ipsa, one-year-old daughter Tisya and his parents, the 32-year-old golfer said there is so much more to sports as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
India is currently in a lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 and Lahiri has stepped up with a few initiatives to help bring some relief to those afflicted.
Lahiri has pledged a donation of Rs700,000 rupees (approximately RM40,000) to 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.
“In these grave times that we are facing, I urge my friends and brethren to join me in doing our bit to support those in need. I have pledged Rs700,000 to the 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 (Victory to India), ” the former Asian Tour No. 1 tweeted on Saturday.
“I’ve read stories about people walking for five to six days to get back to their villages after their workplaces closed. There are a lot of extreme cases of people having no shelter, food or money.”
When Lahiri, who is based in Florida, arrived home nearly a month ago, life was still pretty much normal and he spent 10 days with his coach Vijay Divecha in Ahmedabad, working out on his golf which has gone off-track over the past 18 months.
“For most of us, golf is our life. But there is a larger picture outside of that which we miss, ” said Lahiri, who made five cuts from 12 starts before the season came to a halt last month.
“To spend this much time with my daughter and wife, and with my parents is really nice. I haven’t spent so much time with my parents since I was 17 years old.
“It’s nice to hit the pause button and reflect on things which we wouldn’t normally do, ” added Lahiri, who keeps himself occupied with yoga practice.