Golf At Summer Olympics: When Three’s Not A Crowd

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It’s a sense of pride, when our Indian athletes take part in the Olympics and win medals that somehow further strengthen the other sports that are always lost in the light shed towards cricket. Somehow, Olympics is not about cricket, it is about other sports that have lost their significance in the bid for us proclaiming cricket as the national sport.

It’s after 112 years that Golf is making its return after the 1904 St. Louis Games, and there are three golf players who have made the cut. Anirban Lahiri, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia, and Aditi Ashok have qualified for the Summer Olympic Games in Rio. The qualification was based on world rankings and the cut off this year was 60, for each of the men’s and women’s competition.

The newest and youngest entrant to the Indian contingent will be 18-year-old Aditi Ashok, who qualifies with her world ranking of 57. Aditi has been a sensation ever since she won the qualifying finals to earn a full card on the Ladies European Tour. And she’s done well to hold herself in the big league and is thrilled to be representing the country in Rio.

Anirban Lahiri, who is ranked no.62 in the world, was placed 20th in the latest International Golf Federation rankings for Rio. While, SSP Chawrasia, ranked 207 in the world, was placed 45th. With the top 60 making the cut for Rio, Lahiri and Chawrasia secured the spot for India at the Olympics.

Lahiri, who is currently the Asia No.1, had enjoyed an exceptional 2015 season with two wins on the European Tour and a phenomenal tied fifth finish at the PGA (Professional Golfer Association of America) Championship. He had also become the first Indian to be a part of the International Team at the Presidents Cup, the very last year. The 29-year-old is the winner of seven international titles, and prefers the title of Olympic medalist Anirban Lahiri than Olympian Anirban.

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SSP Chawrasia will also be a part of India’s contingent to the Olympics. Chawrasia has four international titles till date and had won the Indian Open this year to jump into contention for Rio. Chawrasia will make a formidable pairing with Lahiri as both the golfers have been at the top of their game in the recent past.

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As per the current IGF ranking list for the Olympic men’s competition, India will be one of 24 nations to have more than one player in the field. There are a total of 17 participants from Asia who will be representing nine different countries and will be seen in action at the Olympic Golf Course where the competition will be held from August 11 to 14.

It is noteworthy that one woman golfer Lee-Anne Pace and at least 17 men golfers have withdrawn from the Olympics citing various reasons, including the Zika virus threat. Thus, possibly increasing the chances of our country winning the medals.

However, the time is nigh for us to recognize various other sportsmen who have toiled equally hard, yet have been unable to find the acceptance in general. Olympics is the time when we celebrate other sports, and why not, their importance is long due but never unwanted.

Yugansha Malhotra

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The Viewspaper

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