Tokyo: Top Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri, who had finished joint 42nd in the men’s event at the Tokyo Olympic Games, has said that woman golfer Aditi Ashok’s monumental effort of finishing fourth at the quadrennial showpiece on Saturday should “brings a change in attitude in people” about the sport.
Despite India having produced some top golfers, who have played and won on tours across the world, golf is still considered an elitist sport and Lahiri said that the 23-year-old Aditi’s performance in Tokyo should bring about a “positive change” in the game’s ecosystem in the country.
The world No. 200 carded a 3-under 68 in the final round to register a combined score of 15-under and missed out on a medal spot by one shot.
India’s No.1 men’s golfer Lahiri appreciated Aditi’s performance and said, “I hope it brings a change in attitude in people and golf as a sport can grow like any other Olympic sport in India.”
“The biggest win for Aditi is that so many more Indians now know what golf is, how it works. And then, really just putting golf on the map in India, I think this is really quite a turning point for golf,” Lahiri told Olympics.com.
Lahiri added that the fact that a large number of Indians woke up early on Saturday to watch Aditi’s final round in Tokyo was a “big win” for the sport.
“I think more people woke up and learnt about the sport this morning than even if she would have won a major or someone from the men’s contingent would have won. I think it’s a win for golf. That’s the biggest win.”
Lahiri felt Aditi’s performance will inspire a whole generation to take up the sport and represent the country on a big stage.
“I think it’s fantastic. Aditi just played absolutely unbelievable golf. Given all the challenges that she had to face. The competition, the stage, so many people wanting her to do well. She has done phenomenally well. It will be a big boost for golf,” Lahiri said.
“Aditi will be a superstar for young girls and she totally deserves to be so. There is a whole generation of girls who want to grow and play like her. It’s not just girls, people are going to take notice of the sport. Parents are also going to take notice of the sport,” he added.