Lahiri: A medal at Rio will make a big difference

Excited to be part of the Indian Olympic contingent, golfer Anirban Lahiri has said he wants to return with a medal from Rio Games as it will make a big impact on golf in India and Asia.

Anirban Lahiri in action in Troon on Saturday.   -  AP

Excited to be part of the Indian Olympic contingent, golfer Anirban Lahiri has said he wants to return with a medal from Rio Games as it will make a big impact on golf in India and Asia. Three Indian golfers — Lahiri, S. S. P. Chawrasia and Aditi Ashok have qualified for the Olympics.

“The goal obviously will be to get there and try to get a medal or two, if both S. S. P. (Chawrasia) and I can play well. That should have a big impact on golf in India and Asia. It’s going to make a big difference,” he said.

A total of 16 Asian golfers, including Lahiri, Thai veteran star Thongchai Jaidee, Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman, Filipino Miguel Tabuena and Malaysia’s Danny Chia, will be among those looking forward to the trip and being a part of golf’s return following a lapse of 112 years.

Lahiri said he hoped that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will keep golf in the programme beyond 2020 following the publicity led by withdrawals of higher ranked players.

Top golfers such as World No. 1 Jason Day and No. 2 Jordan Spieth have withdrawn from the Games in August because of Zika virus concerns. Among other golfers, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell, Vijay Singh and Rory McIlroy are some of the top names who all have declared their absence from the Games.

'Unfortunate'

“It’s unfortunate. There’s been a lot of speculation. It’s sad not to see some of the best players playing,” said the reigning Asian Tour number one. So that’s disappointing for golf after making a comeback after more than 100 years. Hopefully the event will be a big success. Hopefully all the glitter and glamour is not lost,” he said.

However, Lahiri has already made his plans to join the Indian contingent in marching out during the opening ceremony in Rio. “I’m super excited. It’ll be a very proud moment for me.

S. S. P. and I will be there for the opening ceremony and you can’t buy that experience,” said the 29-year-old. "There’s nothing that compares to that feeling. You’re part of something that is bigger than yourself.”