It was par for the course for golfer Arjun Bhati. The prodigy, who will be 16 on September 7, outthought several professional Indian golfers who earn in millions and crisscross the world’s international courses. Bhati’s Rs 4.3 lakh contribution to the PM-CARES fund for the fight against COVID-19 speaks of a remarkable generosity in someone so young. Consider this: to raise the money, he sold off all his 102 medals and trophies won over the last eight years of his career. Among these were three trophies won at world-level competitions in Malaysia and the US between 2016 and 2019.
Bhati, who has just taken his Class 10 CBSE examination, says the urge to do something for the country came naturally to him. “I play in some of the toughest tournaments in my age group and to do well for India is something I cherish. India is like a parent and in this difficult situation I thought it was my duty to contribute to the PM’s fund. Medals can be won again but let’s save lives first,” says Bhati, displaying maturity and vision beyond his years.
Since everything was locked down--he lives in an apartment that overlooks the Jaypee Greens golf course in Greater Noida--Bhati spread the word through friends and relatives. “Their immediate reaction lifted my spirits and my three world medals fetched the best prices,” says Bhati.
The 2019 FCG Callaway junior world golf championship winner’s trophy was bought by Bhati’s coach Monish Bindra for Rs 21,000. His uncle Sandeep Badal bought the 2018 world junior medal for Rs 11,000 while his 2016 world medal, picked up by another uncle, fetched him Rs 11,000. “The best surprise, of course, came from my grandmother, who bought some trophies for 21,000,” gushes the affable lad. Bhati, whose role model is Tiger Woods, wants to become a professional. “I am still not sure when but it has been nice playing age-group tournaments that exposes me to pressure and challenges depending on weather and design of the courses,” he says. “I would like to win an Olympic medal for India. I felt honoured to be standing beside Amitabh Bachchan and Virat Kohli at the India Sports Honours awards to get my sponsorship last year,” he adds.