Golfers Lahiri, Chawrasia, Aditi make it to Olympics

With July 11 being the cut-off date for Olympic qualification, Lahiri and Chawrasia have made the grade for Rio as per the International Golf Federation’s rankings (based on the world rankings) for the Olympic men's competition.

Rio Olympics will be Anirban Lahiri’s second outing at a quadrennial multi-sporting event. He had earlier participated at the 2006 Doha Asian Games.   -  AP

As golf returns to the Olympics after 112 years, Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia have qualified to represent the country in the Rio Games next month.

Current Asia No. 1 Lahiri (world ranking 62) and reigning Indian Open champion Chawrasia (world ranking 207) were placed 20th and 45th respectively in the latest International Golf Federation (IGF) qualification list updated late on Monday. Along with the seasoned duo, young Aditi Ashok will represent the country in the women's event.

Altogether 60 players will be seen in action at the Olympic Golf Course, where the competition will be held from August 11 to 14.

Another regular on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), Mohammad Siddikur Rahman (world ranking 308), a two-time Asian Tour winner, was placed 56th in the qualification list and will represent his own country Bangladesh.

Lahiri, a winner of seven international titles, had a fine 2015 during which he earned two European Tour wins and a tied-fifth place in the prestigious PGA Championship. His PGA performance was the best by an Indian in a Major till date.

Lahiri, who made history by becoming the first Indian to be a part of the International Team at the Presidents Cup, is competing on the PGA Tour this season and was among the top-50 in the world for most part of the year so far and will compete in his ninth successive Major when he tees up at the British Open this week.

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“Olympian Anirban Lahiri sounds good, but Olympic medalist Anirban Lahiri would sound way better,” said Lahiri, who won a team silver medal in 2006 Asian Games.

Chawrasia, who has tasted four international wins including three on the European Tour, notched up a long-awaited Indian Open victory earlier this year to be in contention for the Olympics.

Chawrasia will make a formidable pairing with Lahiri as both the golfers have been at the top of their game in the recent past.

“Anirban and SSP have been great ambassadors for Indian golf over the years. We are confident that they will once again make India proud,” said PGTI Director Uttam Singh Mundy.

India will be one of 24 nations to have more than one player in the Olympics. A total of 17 golfers from Asia will represent nine different countries.

Eighteen-year-old Aditi (world ranking 444) was slotted 58th among the women who have qualified for the Olympics. The Bengaluru girl was a top amateur and turned professional on January 1 this year.

With golf returning to the Olympics after 112 years, altogether 60 players (in men and women sections each) 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.