Derek Bentall, perhaps West Sussex’s only minigolf professional, is to represent Great Britain at the European Seniors championship in August. The tournament is to be held in Lahti, Finland and runs from the 10th to the 13th of August. Bentall, of Woodpecker Way, Turners Hill, finished fifth in June at the World Crazy Golf Championships in Hastings. That result was enough to see him picked for the GB team. Lahti will be his first outing on the international stage.
Father-of-one Bentall, known to his minigolf friends as ‘Doctor Death’, said, ‘It was a great thrill to play the final round on Sunday in the presence of UK number one Michael Smith and Tour chairman Sean Homer in the final group with crowds and cameras on show. I was so proud how I coped with the pressure and have come a long way in three years on the Tour. Finishing fifth in the World Crazy Golf Championships gives me so much confidence as I hope to push closer to the top ten rankings in the UK by the end of this season.
When I received confirmation I had been selected to represent my country it felt a great honour and I feel extremely privileged to be able to wear the GB shirt at my age, 52, having been a lifelong sports enthusiast. I will be representing Great Britain in Lahti, Finland in August as Great Britain’s Minigolf Association is taking a team of six well-established players to the European Seniors Championships. It really will be a dream come true for me.” [Crawley Observer]
And in other news, there has been a potentially important meeting at the top of world minigolf. The Presidents of the World Minigolf Federation (WMF) and European Minigolf Federation (EMF) have met with the head of the Olympic Committee of Kosovo in Pristina, where the 2016 World Adventure Golf Masters took place.
The WMF is striving for International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition, which would be a major step towards minigolf becoming an Olympic sport. The WMF is the umbrella organisation for 57 national minigolf sports associations worldwide, covering over 900 minigolf clubs. The WMF is a member of the Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport (AIMS), which was founded in 2009 by 21 non-IOC recognised members.
What was said behind closed doors is secret, but WMF head Gerhard Zimmermann said, ‘During our meeting, we received the complete picture and full understanding about the political and sports development of Kosovo during the last decade.’
Zimmermann and Kosovo Olympic Committee chairman Besim Hasani are to meet again at this Summer’s Olympics in Rio. Could minigolf be edging closer to the Olympics? Will we see the likes of Derek Bentall competing in 2020 or 2014? We’ve got everything crossed hoping so.