Saif Thabet believes the weight of expectations on his shoulders will only spur him to perform better when he joins the UAE national golf team for the Nomura Cup to be held in Fiji next month.
The 23-year-old from Abu Dhabi is a new face in the four-member team that has been selected by the Emirates Golf Federation to represent the country in the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation Team Championship, popularly known as the Nomura Cup, to be held at Denarau in Fiji from August 16 to 19.
Thabit, who plays off an impressive three handicap, is no stranger to competing at international level, having successfully represented the UAE in showjumping events. But, after giving it a thought, he gave up a flourishing equestrian career last year to concentrate his energies on golf, a game he first starting playing when he was just seven years old.
“I did enjoy riding horses, but I wasn’t getting enough time to concentrate on my studies and work since the sport required a lot of travelling. Also, my horse got injured and was put out of action. I needed to make a decision and, finally, decided golf is the way forward,” said Saif, who recently attended a summer camp with the fellow national team members in Oman.
“It’s indeed an honour to be part of the UAE national golf team and I am grateful to the Emirates Golf Federation for keeping faith in my ability,” said Saif, who, at present, is busy honing his game in the searing heat to ensure he is well on course for helping the UAE team achieve better results when it competes in the Nomura Cup.
“I am really pleased the way things are shaping up for me, but I still need to improve my short game since accuracy is the key to posting good numbers. I am working hard and hope everything would fine by time I step on to the first tee in Fiji, said Saif who made it to the UAE national team after winning a recent qualifier held at Yas Links in Abu Dhabi.
Saeed Albudoor, general manager of the Emirates Golf Federation, welcomed Saif’s return to golf, saying: “He is blessed with abundance of talent and his presence will bring new energy to the team.
“Though representing the UAE golf team will be a whole lot of new experience for him, he knows how to deal with the pressure that comes with the job. I wish him all the luck and hope he will soon be able to cement his place in the team.”
UAE national coach Chris Vallender was equally delighted. “Despite being away from golf for a long time, Saif has shown tremendous improvement in his game. He has a good swing, but needs to work hard in some areas of his game. He is willing to learn — and that’s a big plus.”
Caption – Saif Thabet in action at the recent summer camp in Oman