Hyderabad: When the game of golf was reintroduced in the Olympics at Rio Games in 2016, India had three golfers in the fray – Anirban Lahiri, SSP Chawrasia and 18-year-old Aditi Ashok. Though they were well out of medal contention, Aditi, who briefly led the field, caught everyone’s attention. At 18 years and four months, she was the youngest female golfer in the field.
Five years later, three golfers – Lahiri, Aditi and Udayan Mane – make the cut for Tokyo Games. While experienced Lahiri and 23-year-old Aditi will be playing their second successive Games after making the cut by being among top 60 rankings, Udayan Mane qualified after the Argentinian golfer Emiliano Grillo withdrew from the field due to Covid-19 fears.
Lahiri, who bagged the last available spot at 60, is the most successful Indian golfer with two European Tour titles and two Asian Tour titles under his belt. He once again looks to give his best at the Tokyo Games.
Aditi, who created history as the only female golfer from India to qualify for Olympics in Rio, was placed at 44th in the rankings that earned her automatic qualification for this edition. She had a good start in the Rio Games where she led the field briefly before falling apart. Despite entering the field at 57th spot, Aditi finished 16 rungs above her ranking at 41st. She looks to bank on her experience to deliver the goods this time.
Mane, who represented India in the 2014 Asian Games, turned professional in 2015. The Indian golfer was the first rookie to win two titles on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) in 2015. Udayan Mane has won three events in the 2020-21 PGTI season: Golconda Masters, TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship presented by Eagleton – The Golf Resort and Prometheus School Presents Delhi-NCR Open Golf Championship. As a result, he set a tour record with three consecutive wins, including the 2019 TATA Steel Tour Championship.
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