Brazil’s top pro Da Silva expects Indian golfers to shine in Rio Olympics

Adilson DaSilvaNew Delhi: Adilson Da Silva, who plies his trade on the Asian Tour and the Sunshine Tour in Southern Africa, will have the privilege of leading the host country Brazil’s campaign at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016 as golf makes its return to the quadrennial sporting extravaganza after 112 years.

Interestingly, the 44-year-old Da Silva has a deep connection with India. The resident of South Africa played an event on the PGTI back in 2011 where he finished tied fifth. Adilson has since then had a good track record at international events played in India having posted two top-10s including a tied fourth at this year’s Indian Open as well as two other top-20s.

“Playing on the PGTI in 2011 was a great lesson for me. The competition was tough and I really had to step up my game to register a top-5. I was just finding my feet on the Asian Tour then and the one week at the PGTI Players Championship at Panchkula in 2011 really got my game going.

“Since then I’ve relished the idea of returning to India. I really like the place and the people and enjoy the playing conditions and the courses here. Some of my best results on the Asian Tour have been achieved in India. These include three top-15 finishes at the Indian Open in the last six years and a top-20 at the Avantha Masters in 2013,” said Da Silva, a winner of nine professional titles, all on the Sunshine Tour.

Adilson, who has also spent a few years on the European Tour, feels India has produced some fabulous talent in recent years which has earned the country a great reputation at the international stage. He considers the Indian duo of Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia to be among the medal contenders at the Olympics in August this year.

“The recent achievements of Anirban Lahiri, SSP Chawrasia and Rashid Khan have taken Indian golf to new heights. I feel the Indian team of Lahiri and Chawrasia have bright medal prospects at the Rio Olympics and can exceed expectations with their performance at the mega-event since both have the ability to adapt well to different conditions,” said Adilson.

Golf has grown in popularity in Brazil in the last decade. Adilson is aware that a top performance by him at the Olympics could give a further boost to the sport in the country.

Da Silva said, “It’s a dream to represent Brazil at home at the Olympics. I’m expecting a lot of home support during the event even though there will be some pressure on me to deliver being the top golfer of my country. However, I’m aware that a good week for me in Rio could be the turning point for golf in Brazil.”

On the newly-laid Olympic Golf Course, which will host the Olympic competition, Adilson said, “I was there last year. It’s looking very good, just like a links course by the sea-side. The course stands out for its beautiful design. It has a lot of dog-legs. The course is more open on one side and has thick bushes on the other side. The wind will be a factor.”