Kolkata: Young Aditi Ashok could be India’s lone representative on the golf course at Tokyo Olympics as the D-day for the cut-off approaches at the end of the month.
Now ranked 44th in the qualifying race and No. 165 in world rankings, Ashok made her mark five years back in Rio as the youngest golf Olympian and still has cherished memories of the extravaganza. ‘‘It was an honour to be a part of the Games, especially as the youngest golf Olympian in 2016. The experience was something I won’t forget and I hope I get to experience it again in Tokyo,’’ she said in a recent interview.
The 23-year-old’s career graph had shown an upward graph from there onwards with her becoming the first LPGA player from India as a rookie in 2017.
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India had entered three golfers in the fray for Olympics. Anirban Lahiri (rank 62), Shiv Chawrasia (207) and Aditi Ashok (44) qualified directly among the top 60 players for their respective individual events based on IGF World Rankings. While Lahiri and Chowrasia had ended their campaign with rankings over 50, Aditi managed to finish in the 41st position.
Only Ashok, as things stand now, will safely qualify for Tokyo as she is ranked 44th among the top 60 in Official World Golf Ranking while another woman golfer, Tvesa Malik, is still on reserves. However, no Indian men are placed among the top 60 of the rankings for Tokyo. Lahiri and Udyan Mane are in reserves and can only qualify only if golfers from other countries withdraw their names.
Lahiri, who is bracing up for his second Olympics, was beginning show a turnaround in form as he was placed fifth at the Valero Texas Open earlier this year. However, Covid intervened with his plans as Lahiri tested positive in early April and that effectively ruled him out of certain tournaments on the PGA Tour due to his quarantine period.