The golfing event at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will officially feature the Indian trio of Anirban Lahiri, Aditi Ashok and Udayan Mane. While it is the second Olympic outing for both Lahiri and Ashok, Udayan Mane will represent the tricolor for the first time on the grand stage.
Aditi Ashok qualified for the event with the 45th ranking, while Anirban Lahiri narrowly made the cut, placing 60th out of a possible 60. Lahiri least expected to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, and expressed his surprise in a recent tweet:
Udayan Mane secured his spot after Argentine golfer Emiliano Grillo announced his withdrawal from the competition. Ranked 354th in the world, Mane was right at the top of the reserve list of golfers.
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This will be the second edition of golf in the Olympics after it was reinstated at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Let's take a closer look at the golfing trio set to tee up for India at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
The Indian golfers at Tokyo Olympics 2020
Anirban Lahiri is heading towards his second Olympics after recently recovering from COVID-19, which he tested positive for back in April. The positive result briefly dampened his hopes of making the qualification cut for the Tokyo Olympics, after an impressive showing at the Valero Texas Open where he finished in fifth place.
The 33-year-old seasoned golfer found his passion for the sport at just eight years of age. Anirban Lahiri was born into the family of an army doctor in Pune, which fortunately gave him access to the golfing greens. At the age of 11, Lahiri played his first sub-junior golf tournament in Calcutta, and he has not looked back since.
With his first win on the junior circuit in 2005 at the Asian Junior Team Championships, a young Lahiri moved to Bengaluru to train under his coach Vijay Divecha. After several amateur wins on the national circuit, including a team silver medal at the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Lahiri turned professional in 2007.
Bagging his first international win in 2009, at the Haryana Open, Anirban Lahiri went on to win a total of 11 PGTI championships. His first win on the Asian Tour came in 2011, when he captured the Panasonic Open title, the first of five.
2015 was arguably Lahiri's most prolific year. He won his first and second European Tour titles in the month of February, at the Maybank Malaysian open and the Hero Indian Open.
Adding to his accolades for the year, the ace golfer became the first Indian to be named a member of the President's Cup International Squad. His first top-20 finish on the PGA Tour was the cherry on top.
With golf's return to the Olympics at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Anirban Lahiri represented India at the event with his counterparts Shiv Sankar Prasad Chowrasia and Aditi Ashok.
Lahiri has made several FedExCup Playoff appearances since then, with his most significant showing at the Valero Texas Open, where he placed solo fifth with a score of 10-under-par.
Anirban Lahiri is currently playing in the Rocket Mortgage Classic tournament on the final day of the event.
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The 23-year-old ace golfer will make a return to the Olympics after her inspiring stint at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where she made history becoming the first Indian female golfer to compete. Aditi Ashok, who finished 41st in her first Olympic outing, currently ranks 45th out of the 60 qualifying spots.
With an interest in golf sparked at the age of five when she first saw the lush green course at the Karnataka Golf Association in Bengaluru, Aditi Ashok began her young career. At 13-years-old, Aditi won her first state championships - the Karnataka Junior and South India Junior Championships.
She went on to win the National Amateur title the same year, which was the most significant accolade at the time.
After consistently winning the National Junior Championships in 2012, 2013 and 2014, Aditi also won the senior championship in 2014. The young ace went on to become the first and only Indian golfer to compete at the Asian Youth Games (2013), the Youth Olympics (2014) and the Asian Games (2014).
Aditi began her professional career in 2016 after winning the Ladies British Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2015. Perhaps the most significant moment of her career came months later when she represented India at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
After a stellar performance in the first two rounds, Aditi eventually placed 41st.
The Bengaluru-native has won two Ladies European Tour (LET) titles and became the first LPGA player from India in 2017.
Although the pandemic affected her training, Aditi Ashok is back to playing in the LPGA tournaments and is confident about making an impact at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. She is currently playing in the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout tournament on the final day of the event.
After his victory at the Delhi-NCR Open back in March, Udayan Mane found his form again after a slow start since the tour resumed in November last year. With his 11th PGTI tour title and a stunning three championships in the 2020-21 season, Mane significantly improved his world rankings.
With Emiliano Grillo's withdrawal from the event, Mane's rise in ranks helped him secure a berth at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Back in February 2020, Mane won the PGTI Players Championship in Bengaluru. This earned him five world ranking points, which propelled him to a rank of 241 in the world. At that point in time, Mane was a favorite to secure a spot in the top-60 qualifying players for the Tokyo Olympics.
Although the lockdown played spoilsport to Udayan Mane's prolific form and played on his chances at qualification, with the cancelation of several tournaments in the Asian tour as well as the PGTI, his impressive outing at the Delhi-NCR Open rescued his standing.
The 30-year-old golfer, based in Pune, represented India at the 2014 Asian Games before turning professional in 2015. He was the first rookie to win two titles on the PGTI tour in the same year.
With 11 PGTI tour titles and a tour record three consecutive tour wins in the 2020-21 season, Udayan Mane looks set to impress at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.