The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered many useless. This includes athletes.
Although some of the great sportsmen may have savings to survive during this hard time. But coming to golf, the caddies have been hit hard over a month with close to 70 percent of them in India surviving on a daily wage. It means without games; they are on their own.
Moreover, with postponement and cancellation of golf tournaments due to the pandemic, the government has put life above the games, which is very important. The death toll on the globe has hit over 130,000, and infection has almost hit the two million mark. The situation, according to financial regulators, may lead to an economic recession with all activities stalled.
Although athletes have raised money for COVID-19 relief, the caddies have never gotten any help from the federation, which means that their source of livelihood hangs in the balance.
The story has now changed with help coming to them from the All India Tennis Association (AITA). This means the cries of the unsung heroes in the game of golf, have finally been heard by the governing body of the game in India.
Since the country has been on lockdown, the life of most of them has been miserable with the ones closed to players sending text messages, with requests for help. The most affected of the caddies are the migrant who has to put food on the tables of their respective families and pay house rent and other utility bills.
It could be recalled that a caddie, who works at the CGC had said he was helpless because he can’t even look into his wife and children’s eye, adding that the pandemic has finished off everything.
Finally, Bogey Sport, a sports management firm, has come to their aid with an idea tagged ‘the Walking With You initiative.’ The organization, through crowdfunding in collaboration with the Chandigarh Golf Club, Panchkula Golf Club, and other stakeholders are to support struggling caddies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to reports, the initiative is to provide short-term financial or essential assistance for certain workers in the golf industry. These are the ones that form the backbone of golf facing significant financial hardships.
So, through this initiative, 300 grocery kits have been distributed to the CGU caddies. Other people supporting the initiative include Sandeep Singh Sandhu, President Chandigarh Golf Club, chairman Caddie Welfare Committee, Iqbal Singh, and APS Johal, general manager.
Additionally, members associated with Bogey Sport also made voluntary contributions by parting with cash from their monthly salary besides their donations.
This gesture, according to Jitender Singh Rialch, founder of Bogey Sport, was to ensure that they get back on their feet during these tough times.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed