New Delhi, July 6: Udayan Mane could not conceal his excitement as he heard the news of his confirmation for the golf competition at the Tokyo Olympics. He joins Anirban Lahiri in the Indian team for the Games.
The women’s challenge will once again be Aditi Ashok, just as it was in 2016. Lahiri, won the team silver at the Asian Games in 2006, and Aditi will be playing their second Olympics.
On Tuesday, the International Golf Federation (IGF) announced the names of Top 60 men and women, who will make up the field at the Tokyo Games, which have been delayed by a year due to the pandemic.
“I cannot help thinking about that last hole in the Delhi-NCR Open in March. I birdied the 72nd hole and managed a win and those points helped me make this team,” said Mane. “Even a second place would not have been enough.”
“I had done what I could and it included a win in my last start which was in March this year after which I did not get a chance to play,” said Mane from Bengaluru.
“Anirban is someone I have looked up to and to be with him in the team is indeed an honour,” said Mane, who played for India at the 2014 Asian Games in Korea. “I thought I had a chance to get a medal there, but despite a final round of 69 I missed getting into a tie for the individual bronze by one shot in Incheon. I still think about it sometimes,” he recalled.
The golf gold medal was won by CT Pan, who has since started playing on the PGA Tour, where he has even a PGA Tour title.
Rashid Khan and Udayan Mane were in line to represent India when the Games were originally scheduled in July 2020. But the postponement of the Games and the lack of opportunities thereafter seemed to have taken away that chance from both Mane and Rashid.
Last month, Anirban Lahiri finished T-25 at the Palmetto Championships and the points he earned that week apart from his T-5 at Texas Open in April helped Lahiri leapfrog to the top place among Indians in world rankings and that got him a berth for Tokyo.
Mane was among the first reserves. The withdrawal of Argentine Emiliano Grillo paved the way for Mane to get into the field as the 60th and final player in the field.
Among women, Diksha Dagar was fifth reserve and could not join Aditi in the Tokyo field,
The men will compete from July 29-August 1 and the women August from 4-7 at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.
“We are extremely pleased with the strength and diversity of both the men’s and women’s fields, which reflect the continued growth and popularity of golf,” said Annika Sorenstam, President of the International Golf Federation, in a statement.
“We have such wonderful storylines to share, be it Jon Rahm and Nelly Korda both winning major championships in the final week of qualifying to become the No. 1 players in the world, or the variety of lesser known but equally inspiring stories of Olympic athletes representing their respective countries.”
With 36 countries included in women’s competition and 35 in the men’s, the composition of the Olympic fields highlights the broad global interest in golf and the opportunity to reach new audiences across all the continents through the expansive coverage of the Olympic Games. Across the two competitions, Europe has 53 qualified players, Asia 30, the Americas 26, Oceania six and Africa five.