Fitter Shiv Kapur sets sights on Tokyo Games berth | Golf News


JAIPUR: In 2010, it was the first time that current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic discovered that he was gluten intolerant and a revamp of his diet plan in consultation with nutritionists became the turning point in his career. The Serb went on to win 16 of his overall 17 Grand Slams since that time after switching to the new diet regime. Leading Indian golfer Shiv Kapur too has made a similar change to his food intake which he believes is already working wonders for him. The three-time Asian Tour champion underwent a liver abscess surgery in 2016 and thereafter continued to have problems with his metabolism, including stomach upsets and pain.

He endured a 12-year-long wait for a professional title ever since Volvo Masters of Asia victory in 2005 when he lifted the $300,000 Yeangder Heritage at the National Golf Country Club in Chinese Taipei two years back. Later the same year, he won Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open India title at his home club — Delhi Golf Club. During that period the 2002 Busan Asian Games individual gold medallist had five runner-up finishes and four thirdplace results in his name. He ended between 4th and 10th place 24 times from 359 starts. That speaks volumes about the golfer who also briefly led the first round of the British Open in 2013.

But his dietary issues continued to haunt him. After shifting base to Dubai in 2019 and consultations with various doctors, dieticians, nutritionists and trainers about what suits him best, he found out that he was gluten intolerant too.

“My whole training regime has changed after shifting to Dubai. I have my trainer Alistair Parlane and coach Shane Gillespie there. Also my old friend Sujjan Singh trains me as he is also an instructor there and I have a very structured programme now. I have been working more on the fitness side of things. I never felt that I had intolerance to glutens before undergoing various tests and talks with experts in the field. I have incorporated a gluten-free diet since the last two months and I have lost more than 4kgs and I feel better. From being a heavy non-vegetarian person I completely turned vegan. I feel more active, fitter and stronger physically now. I am able to train for longer hours than before and the body recovers faster too. I must say I am really happy with it. Many people have told me that I am looking fitter,” Kapur told TOI.

In 2018, the 38-year-old had four top-10 finishes — Royal Cup (Tied 2nd), Mercuries Taiwan Masters (6th), Queens Cup (Tied 6th) and BNI Indonesian Masters (6th) — from 17 starts only to suggest that there was something missing when it came to converting the opportunities. The very next year, he came close to winning twice with back-to-back tied second finishes at the Thailand Open and Panasonic Open India. He had another two top-10s at the Bank-BRI Indonesia Open (T-10) and the BNI Indonesian Masters (T-8) out of 20 starts including 11 missed cuts.

Practicing at the famous Claude Harmon Academy at Dubai’s Els Club, Kapur believes his game has improved a lot which will keep him in good stead for the upcoming Hero Indian Open, a US $1.75 million European Tour and Asian Tour cosanctioned tournament to be held from March 19 to 22 in Gurugram. The Arjuna awardee will be playing the New Zealand Open followed by the Bandar Malaysia Open and Royal’s Cup in Thailand before hitting home for the ‘fifth Major’ at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

“As far as preparation goes, I feel most ready than I have felt in a long time. It’s kind of a second wind for me as I am 38 now. I see at least half a decade left in me and I want to keep going and ensure that these young guys (Shubhankar Sharma, Udayan Mane) instill enough fight in me. Preparation wise I am in a good space. Nothing changes in my game. I have been knocking on the doors of the Indian Open since some time and hope that this time I can turn it around,” said Kapur, who came close to winning the national open on couple of occasions — 2010 (Tied 3rd) and 2012 (Tied 4th).

During the harsh summer in Dubai, Kapur plans to compete in Europe and also try his hand at qualifying for the oldest Major — the British Open — and Olympic Games in Tokyo. “I am trying to minimise my travel and working my way back. I only come to India to visit my family. I usually play in Europe during summer, this time the goal will be to clinch a British Open berth and to play for India in the Olympics. There are still 16 weeks left for the Olympic cut-off and it is anybody’s game. It is a matter of one good week, till two weeks back nobody was talking about Udayan and now he is 60th on the qualification rankings, that’s how quickly things can change. Next three-four months are pretty crucial for everyone, whoever plays well in this period will make the team. Hopefully that’s me,” he signed off.



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