Kolkata: Aditi Ashok, the Indian golfer who could provide a big twist in the tale in the country’s medal hopes in Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, is not willing to think too far ahead.
“I think one more day of golf and a lot happens on the final day. Although it’s just one round, it feels long mentally, so definitely staying patient and hoping we have good weather and hope I play good tomorrow,”said the 23-year-old, for whom this is the second Olympics on the trot.
While four golfers qualified from India - Anirban Lahiri and Udayan Mane among men alongwith Aditi and Diksha Dagar in the women’s category - a medal in golf looked a long shot when the women’s competition started on Wednesday.
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A medal on Saturday - despite the slip between the lip and the cup - would hence be nothing short of a coup for India who look for a final push to better their best-ever haul of six medals in London 2012. “For sure (there will be pressure) but I’m not thinking about it that much. I think no matter how I do this week, people have heard about golf and they continue to tune in if they have extended the golf coverage in India because I’m in the top three. I think that’s good itself. People seeing golf instead of the other sports, it’s always good to get more people aware of the game,” she told the International Golf Federation.
When she made her debut in Rio 2016 as the youngest competitor and featured in the top-10 in the opening two rounds before finishing 41st, Aditi attracted more curiosity as a wide-eyed teenager just out from school and soaking in the Olympic experience.
Aditi’s sensational run through three rounds is praiseworthy as she has not regained her full speed and strength after coming down with Covid-19 in May this year.
“It (Covid) took a little bit of strength out of me. I was always short but not like 50 behind Nelly. I think apart from the distance, this year has been kind of the best I’ve had with my short game, my putting, the rest of my game has been fantastic. I think it’s been one of the best years,” she told the IGF.
With her mother, Maheshwari on caddying duties this week - her father was on the bag in Rio - Aditi has enjoyed their time together and even thinks her good run in Tokyo has been due to girlpower. “She’s doing great. It’s funny; this is the best I’ve played all year. My dad’s enjoying watching me on TV and enjoys listening to Bones (Jim McKay) commentate on my game. So that’s been cool. My mom has obviously done a great job,” said Aditi.
“A lot of people are trying to figure out golf and top-3 and tied second and they’re trying to figure out what would win a medal. And that’s all really cool and I think it’s really cool that golf is in the Olympics and we have that chance, because otherwise so many people would never pay attention to golf, let alone men’s and women’s separately,” said Aditi, a three-time winner on European Tour and the lone Indian on the LPGA Tour.