Aditi Ashok agonisingly missed out on an historic medal in women’s golf at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Saturday but her effort was celebrated at home with tributes led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.
Well played @aditigolf! You have shown tremendous skill and resolve during #Tokyo2020. A medal was narrowly missed but you’ve gone farther than any Indian and blazed a trail. Best wishes for your future endeavours.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 7, 2021
Aditi fought bravely throughout the final round at Kasumigaseki Country Club, shooting a closing 3-under 68 to finish one shot shy of a podium finish with her 15-under 269 aggregate.
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American World No. 1 Nelly Korda took gold on 17-under 267 after a 69, with Mone Inami securing Japan’s first-ever medal in golf by taking the silver after defeating New Zealand’s Lydia Ko in the first hole of a sudden-death playoff after both tied on 16-under.
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All week, Aditi, who had her mother Maheshwari on caddying duties, was a picture of confidence and calm as she courageously stayed in the medal hunt throughout a thrilling final round and had a couple of birdie chances to join the playoff, only to agonisingly miss putts on the 17th and 18th holes.
Well played, Aditi Ashok! One more daughter of India makes her mark!
You have taken Indian golfing to new heights by today’s historic performance. You have played with immense calm and poise. Congratulations for the impressive display of grit and skills.
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 7, 2021
Among those impacted by the lionhearted show are Aditi’s teammate Diksha Dagar, who finished T50 on 6-over 290. The 20-year-old said Aditi’s run was inspiring and would encourage young girls to pick up the sport.
“It’s been a wonderful experience and I’ll keep working hard to improve,” said Diksha. “Aditi had a very good week and I want to try and follow in her footsteps. This performance will certainly create more awareness for golf as not everybody in India knows about golf.”
Despite being downcast, Aditi, the lone Indian on the LPGA Tour, thinks so too. “I think it’s good, just even top 5 or top 10 at an Olympics is really good. Because you know that sport or that person has a medal chance. So just having more top finishes, even if it’s not exactly a podium finish, will maybe bring eyes to the sport and more support, more kids pick up more, whatever, that helps grow the game,” Aditi said.
“Obviously, when I started golf, I never dreamt of being or contending at the Olympics, golf wasn’t even an Olympic sport. So sometimes you just pick it up and work hard and have fun every day and sometimes you get here.”
Indeed, Aditi has arrived at the highest level of women’s golf.