By Poorvi Gupta
Golf is fast moving into the mainstream sports arena in India. And both men and women golfers are contributing to its success but it is this one young golfer, Aditi Ashok, who really brought in a lot of attention and interest at this year’s Olympics. The 18-year-old turned professional in January this year and qualified for women’s golf at Rio Olympics 2016. Her Olympics stint bolstered India’s faith in women’s golf.
While her qualifying rank for Olympics was 57 out of 60 players, she finished at 46th — 16 ranks above her rank — and also held lead the game briefly in the second round. Currently ranked at 32 in the Ladies European Tour, the young player shared her experience after Olympics and the responsibility to carry women’s golf forward in the country recently at a press conference.
“It feels a bit different. After Olympics, I played three LET events in Spain, France and China and finished under 10 in all three tournaments. Then I played in stage two of LPGA where I made it to stage three,” said Aditi in the press conference.
She will be playing at the Hero Women’s Indian Open starting from Friday this week at the DLF Golf and Country Club. In fact, Aditi has been playing non-stop after turning pro and about the pressure she has to go through to play more, she mentioned that this is her sixth week in a row. “It definitely is demanding but I enjoy playing and I am young so I am able to manage it.”
She added, “I do work a lot on my fitness and I have never had any injuries so far and I would like to keep it that way. I think it’s more about planning your season better. I am sure if I had done that better I could have performed better in a few more events but I think it has been good for me and I am looking forward to playing more.”
The teenager has achieved more at her age than most do in their lifetimes. She became the first Indian and the youngest golfer to win the Lalla Aicha Tour School. Not just that she is also the only Indian golfer who played the Asian Youth Games (2013), Youth Olympic Games (2014), Asian Games (2014) and Rio Olympics (2016).
What an inspiration!