The sport of Golf is making a comeback this year at the Olympics after a huge gap of 112 years. And travelling to Rio to participate in this historic moment along with seasoned golfers Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia, is one of the youngest players of the sport, 18-year-old Aditi Ashok. Aditi is the only women player who will be representing India in the women's event. Her qualification is the result of the Olympic criteria of players being eligible based on the world rankings. According to the criteria, a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top-15 are selected.
Debutant Aditi was the only Indian golfer who played the Asian Youth Games (2013) Youth Olympic Games (2014) and Asian Games (2014), and will be spearheading India's campaign at Rio this year. Three time National Junior Champion in 2012, 2013, 2014 and a two-time National Amateur Champion in 2011 and 2014, Aditi may be short on experience but as far as skills and passion for the game are concerned, she is right up there.
"Playing for my country at the Olympic Games is a matter of great honour and immense pride"
While speaking exclusively with SheThePeople.TV just before taking off for the Olympics, a confident Aditi said, “To be playing for my country at the Olympic Games is a matter of great honour and immense pride. I feel I have adequate experience of being in an elite field such as this and I wish to use learnings from my past experiences to do my best. In terms of planning for this tournament all I am doing right now is working hard on all aspects of my game, putting in a lot of practice hours and that should help me get ready for the tournament.”
The mascot of Indian women's golf at Rio, Aditi started gaining confidence early in 2016 with her participation in the Full Member of Ladies European Tour. “I have played in a lot of big events in the past few years and so I won’t be doing anything different. I qualified for an LPGA event last year and the field consisted of the top 60 players on the LPGA so I do have that experience. I am sure with all my international exposure I will be well prepared for Rio game wise,” added Aditi.
Trained under Steven Giuliano who is her Swing Coach and Nicolas Cabaret who takes care of her Fitness and Performance Training, Aditi explained, “I have been working with them since 2012 and 2010 respectively. I have had two intensive training sessions with both of my coaches in the last ten months, which was good. I will continue to follow my regular practice routines and set schedules to prepare for the tournament at Rio. Also my dad will be accompanying me. He has been caddying for me since I was 7 years old and the Olympics will be no exception".
My main goal is to have four good, consistent rounds and have a great finish
Aditi, whose only focus now is winning a medal for her country at Rio, is taking all the pressure very calmly. In fact, when we asked what's her main goal at the Olympics, she replied, “To have four good, consistent rounds and have a great finish.” The highly focused young player is positive about the effect of the comeback of the sport at the Olympics, “It will bring the attention of majority of viewers to golf and that’s very much needed. It will definitely help grow the sport in a big way as more people will want to know about golf and maybe learn golf too.”
The Women's golf competition will kick off at the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro on the 17th of August. We for one will surely tune in!
Feature Image Credit: sportskeeda.com