Story behind Manu Gandas’ breakthrough win: Sore wrists and painful ankle

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Manu Gandas broke through at the Golconda Masters since turning pro in 2015, but the win came enveloped in pain. Thegolfinghub photo by Virendra Singh Gosain.
Manu Gandas broke through at the Golconda Masters since turning pro in 2015, but the win came enveloped in pain. Thegolfinghub photo by Virendra Singh Gosain.

Not even the euphoria of a breakthrough win can disturb the calm demeanour. It is tough to get Manu Gandas talking. All one could extricate after the three-shot win at the Golconda Masters on Sunday was, “It (the feeling) is sinking in slowly, I’ve waited for this a long time.”

 

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But discomfort and playing with pain as a companion, is that incentive enough to get chirpy? Not quite in Manu’s case. But much as he tried to water down the factor, the Professional Golf Tour of India’s least expressive of athletes and the first winner after Restart 2 was in some bother, especially on the first two days at the Hyderabad Golf Club.

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Over the past five years, the wrists have taken a beating due to overuse, and the soft tissue injuries keep flaring up. But a tournament week is not the time to tend to a sore area, especially when there are more critical matters to attend to on the golf course that pertain to winning.

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Manu knows how to cope with the recurring problems by now, but he hadn’t bargained for both wrists becoming troublesome at one go. If this wasn’t enough, the right ankle buckled. Manu believes excessive skipping during lockdown has brought about this condition and getting stuck on a bunker slope this week aggravated the pain. Work will start soon on ankle mobility to address the concern.

 

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There were reported trips to the physio as well, and despite the protracted battle with pain, Manu was focussed elsewhere. “I could have saved some shots and the areas that need work on have been noted.” The athlete in him and taking to a physically explosive sport like judo in the early years have taught him to take hard knocks with a straight face.

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Else, how would one explain the monk-like disposition despite getting a foot in the door many times but failing to prise it open. The season has seen a surge in top-10s and the closest he came was finishing runner-up at the Glade Open Masters in February. He rebuked himself for falling prey to “silly dropped shots” in the bid to surge ahead, but that was it. Falling back from the threshold was taken as a lesson to keep striving. Somewhere faith lurked, and after Sunday Manu stands vindicated for believing all through that “I have the game to win.”

 

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It was a matter of time.

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