Not winning a medal, but Ashok still makes the country proud in the competition with the stars in the Tokyo 2020 women’s individual golf.

Yesterday, two Indian heads of state praised the achievement of Ashok, who almost brought home the country’s first Olympic golf medal.

“Great job, Aditi Ashok! Another Indian girl asserting her own position. You have raised our golf platform to new heights with today’s historic achievement, with composure and top-notch technique.” Indian President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted on the afternoon of August 7.

“Excellent Aditi! You have shown amazing talent. You narrowly missed the medal but you are more advanced than any Indian and moreover you have opened a path. Wish you good luck in the future” , Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Ashok over Twitter.

Ashok is expected to create great inspiration, attracting more Indians to practice and play golf.  Photo: Reuters

Ashok is expected to create great inspiration, attracting more Indians to practice and play golf. Photo: Reuters

Even after the penultimate race, Golf Channel also held a separate commentary session on the future of Indian golf with 1.4 billion people and cricket is the king sport, if Ashok finished in the top 3.

With 68 strokes on the closing day, Ashok alone finished fourth with a score of -15 after 72 holes at East Kasumigaseki, par71. In the previous three laps, she stood at least T2.

Tokyo 2020 recorded Ashok for the second time at the Olympics. For the first time at Rio 2016, she returned to T41 at the age of 18.

This result is the opposite of Ashok’s position before the tournament – ranked 200th in the world (Rolex Rankings). And the recent stats don’t favor Ashok in the competition with 60 competitors, 20 of which are in the top 30 Rolex Rankings.

She is near the bottom in teeing distance and has been cut four times across five LPGA Tour events this season. Including the Ladies European Tour, Ashok has only finished in the top 10 once in 15 tournaments. Moreover, the Indian golfer lost about 15 yards in the first hole after being infected with Covid-19 in May.

Weak in teeing distance, Ashok makes up for it with close-range performance.

“I practice short games a lot, can spend 6-8 hours just to chip the ball and escape the bunker. With these skills, I can still keep par and wait for an opportunity when competing on long courts with many matches. The player shoots up to 40-50 yards further,” Ashok shared on Golf.com.

After four days at Kasumigaseki, Ashok was still in the bottom group in driver performance. On the last day alone, she hit just five of the 14 fairways. However, in terms of putting, she “one put per green” through 12 holes and at the end of the tournament ranked first in putt performance. Unfortunately, Ashok could not develop his forte at the right time. On the 18th hole, Ashok had a birdie opportunity from 0.9 meters but only kept par. If the first putt is successful, Ashok enters the playoff (sub-hole) with former world number one Lydia Ko and Japanese host Mone Inami to compete for the Silver and Bronze medals, while the Gold belongs to the US representative Nelly Korda. In the end, Inami gets Silver, Ko gets Bronze.

Ashok loves golf at first contact. When she was five years old, her family used to eat breakfast in a restaurant overlooking the training ground. One day, Ashok was curious to try, so his parents pleased and gave him a toy stick. That time, Ashok was on the green practicing for two hours.

After Rio 2016, Ashok started on the Ladies European Tour, and won three championships in the first season. A year later, she won an LPGA Tour membership.

Ashok’s parents do not play golf but are willing to help their daughter fight. Gudlamani’s father worked as a caddy in Rio and later often kept the task while Mash’s mother was not very professional, so she only carried the bag of sticks this time because Ashok had promised earlier.

Quoc Huy


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