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How Dewji beats courses and age woes

How Dewji beats courses and age woes

FOR other sports, age might be the case, but in golf it seems to be just a number.

This is what you can describe the current performance of senior golfer, Gulam Dewji of Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club (DGC).

Dewji, 73, is still looking to have gas in his tank to conquer even youths at big stage as did at the DGC course during the TLGU Open Championship 2021.

He won the overall men’s title after netting an astonishing 12-under 132 strokes over two rounds of 36 holes and was handed over the trophy by the Chief Guest, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Arts and Sports Pauline Gekul.

He beat his closest challenger  Arshid Ismail who netted 140 strokes by 8 shots at second place while the third-placed Ally Mcharo netted 141 strokes.

The men’s category saw Michael Kiarie and Salvatory Rwabizi who each netted 153 strokes taking the two top prizes in the Seniors category, but their scores were far below the score Dewji netted.

Of course his age could not prevent him from matching with the youth’s high level and even better than them as he did in the just ended event.

He showed that with determination and hard work anything can be possible.

The weekend trophy is among five titles he won in the space of two months in different courses and tournaments.

The courses he conquered include Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) Lugalo, DGC where he won two events, Kili Golf club of Arusha at Diplomatic golf and CEOs battle at Sea Cliff Resort and Spa Golf Club of Zanzibar.

His recent achievements that dazzled many, including the Tanzania Ladies Golf Open in which he won the overall title in men’s category.

Senior golfer Sophia Viggo, who presented the trophy to Dewji, said he has known Dewji for years and to see him continue sparking is amazing.

Viggo said: “I admire Dewji, apart from being a big golf supporter; he is also a good player. He also engages his family in sports. I remember his daughter Sabira was among the top-classed golfers in the country.

“In fact during my heydays she was the only lady who managed to beat me, she did that after I won the Tanzania Ladies Open for nine consecutive years, she was among the tough golfers to beat,” added Viggo.

Sabira remained the only Tanzanian lady to finish second at Dubai Ladies Open; she also won the Nigeria Open and remained the only player who beat Viggo during his shining days.

Dewji said his family members like sports and most of them play golf and tennis.

But the latest wonderful win has put him in the spotlight, done that by playing from men’s tee mark at tee box like any other men’s competitors (seniors are usually allowed to use ladies tee box), but manage to beat over 70 golfers most of them too young including his son, Hussein.

“Yes I have been in good form winning these titles in a short period, but it did not come just like a gift. Lots of efforts have been put into practice to reach this milestone.

“I’m not retired yet, I work like any others. (He is METL- Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited group Chairman) I leave the office very late, but I ensure I get exercises every day evening at least by playing seven holes and putting on green. I take  a full round on  weekends when there is no competition,” he explained.

He emphasizes that winning trophies is one thing, but the most important is to get practice for health and also socialize.

Dewji added: “In playing golf you get fresh air, socialize with friends and chance to compete at tournaments which are all good things.”

Government under President Samia Suluhu has worked hard to emphasize the sports for all, which Dewji echoes saying it is an ideal thing to do and golf should be one of the places to be.

“The one thing I like about golf is that it can bring families together from children of age of three to 90 years old players, this means it is a game that can live longer,” he said.

If players with the age of Dewji and more can compete at this level this means youth can easily excel if they invest in their time. He should inspire them to take the game seriously.

However, he said, he  would like to see more youths engage in golf, but also inspire seniors (Wazee) to engage in sports as early as possible so that, when retired, they have a place to mingle with others in a safe place for mental and health benefits.

“I support the government's idea to take golf as a new tourism product; it is the right decision of the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Damas Ndumbaro,” he stressed.

Tanzania still lags behind in promoting the game in East Africa, but a recent initiative has regained hope.

“I saw the efforts of constructing courses which is a good sign, but we also have an obligation to encourage many youths to engage in the game.”

He said to promote sports needs joint efforts from sponsors, clubs and government on putting in place facilities to make it easily accessible for youths.

Dewji started golf in 1990 and was a keen player before skipping for over 20 years for several reasons before returning five years ago but, he  said wished he could not stop.

“It is a better thing to play than not to; I did not have reasons not to play. I feel happy when I play a game that I can play with others or even alone,” he explained.

His company METL group has become among the firms that heavily invest in golf.

Being the main sponsor at the event, Hussein Dewji promised to continue to support the development of the game as golf is like a family to them.

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Author: MBONILE BURTON

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