THE weeks leading up to the June 21 deadline for the Olympic Games qualification were filled with many an anxious moment for me.
I was at a point where it was too close for comfort, dropping a couple of places in the rankings each week. Yet, if the Tokyo Olympic Games had been held in 2020 as scheduled, I would have been comfortably within the top-60 and planning for the greatest sports show in the world would have been much easier.
Back then, apart from the Olympics, I was also secure with my European Tour card and I was swinging the club and hitting the ball really good. It was a nice place to be.
Fast forward one year... with a new date for the Tokyo Olympics set and the constant threat of Covid-19 hanging over our heads, it is a different ball game altogether.
There are all kinds of challenges being faced, yet overcoming these hurdles makes us stronger and more resilient.
At the cut-off date for qualification, I had just made the top-60 and it was pretty touch-and-go all the way.
As many of you are aware, I’m undergoing a swing change so there is a lot of pressure to perform. We all know, when you put pressure on yourself things usually do not quite work out the way we want them to.
Then, there is the matter of scheduling. Choosing to play the Olympic Games has meant that I will have to give up three European Tour events which are very important to me at this point in time, in terms of Race to Dubai points. But it’s okay. It is the Olympics!
This time round, the Olympics will definitely be different. Compared to Rio five years ago, there are stricter protocols, no spectators and lots of rules to follow. I think the atmosphere will be more subdued but remain just as competitive.
Another big change is the amount of forms we have to fill and the number of PCR tests we have to take despite having been vaccinated. There are so many changes and differences – but it is okay, we will just take it all in our stride.
Another challenge we will have to overcome will be travel in Tokyo. The Olympic golf venue, Kasumigaseki Country Club, is 72km away from the Olympic Village. This means that we will be travelling one-and-a-half hours to the club and another one-and-a-half hours back to the village. Imagine an 8am tee time. But it’s okay. We are prepared for that.
I believe that the Olympics is bigger than all of this. Overcoming challenges while staying competitive is an important trait of an elite athlete.
Being in the Olympics is not just about me... it’s about national pride.
It’s about our country, it’s about flying our flag high. And I am very happy and proud to have the opportunity to do so.
At times like this, when the world and our country is experiencing great frustration casued by the pandemic, the Olympics can be a beacon of hope.
It will provide a welcome distraction from the issues brought on by Covid-19 and hopefully uplift the spirits of all Malaysians.
The Games are a reminder that we as a people are resilient. We know to be tough, both physically and mentally. When things get rough and we ride the storm, we will come out stronger and better.