To the tee

“I want to win a medal in the next Asian games”

By Jayashika Padmasiri
For years, golf has been a game of the rich. It has remained so with time. But there is a father and a son, who changed this history and created a new ‘golf history’ in Sri Lanka. Nandasena Perera and Mithun Perera are two names that took Sri Lankan golf to the international arena in sports. This is a brief interview that The Nation did with the son, Mithun Perera.
They say that blood is thicker than water. That blood does a lot of things. How true this statement is, in general, we do not know. However with reference to Mithun, this has come true, because it is due to his father, that he is playing golf today.

“He taught me to play golf. He is professional golfer. He first worked as a caddie but later learned the art and became a professional in the game. First I watched him play and then we just started to play for the fun of it, but never thought that I would become a player, and that I would continue in the footsteps of my father,” said reminisced Mithun.
Speaking about his childhood, Mithun said, “I have two sisters and one of them is studying in Russia, and the other is still schooling in Sri Lanka. In 2005 I did my A/L’s. I went to Presidents College in Colombo and I studied in the Arts stream, the subjects were Logic, Sinhala and Buddhist culture in school. Even when I was attending school, I was playing in the national team, so couldn’t concentrate much on my studies. But if I didn’t play golf, I think I would have continued my studies.” Speaking further about his school days, he said that he also played football and cricket in school.

How does he view playing golf? “I like to play golf a lot. Usually I come at seven to play in the practice range. I want to improve my skill in this game. Right now I’m only playing amateur golf, but later I will try to play on a professional level. You can’t call this a hobby, because this is a target. First it was only for fun, then for the enjoyment of it and after I started winning matches, I started trying, and now it is a target which I’m trying to accomplish.”

Mithun won the Sri Lankan amateur in 2006. How does he feel about this achievement? “It feels great. My father has also won that award. It is a local one, but the experience is good, it’s great.”
Is he happy with what he has achieved in his life? “Yes, but my target is to try professional in about another three years,” said Mithun, when I asked him this question.

How does he feel about the present state of golf in Sri Lanka? “Golf is a mental game; you have to be mentally strong to be a golf player. What you see on the field, may appear to be just putting a ball into a hole on the ground, with a stick - but it is not just that! It is a far more complicated game. Matches are really limited in our country. If there are more matches, I believe that then a lot of players will come forward. It is a game of the rich. Because of my father, I have got the membership. Usually a membership costs more than Rs. 150,000. If it can reach average people also, it would be great. And I think that it is something that the government should do.”
What are his future plans? “I want to win a medal in the next Asian games.”
Mithun is a player who tries hard - not just to win, but to learn. After speaking with him I left him on the golf course, where he returned to his playing. To put a ball into a hole on the ground, with a stick - for me - but for him - a profession, a target and a life!



* Sri Lanka Junior Championship in 2000, 2002 and 2003
* 2005 third place in the Sri Lanka Amateur Championship.
* 2006-Sri Lankan Amateur open championship winner
(10 under par)
* 2006- Pakistan Amateur open championship runner up
* 2006-8th SALRC Gold championship runner up
* 2007-Bangladesh international team event runner up



















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