New Delhi: It’s official now. The duo of Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia will be representing India at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next month, as golf makes its return to the quadrennial sporting extravaganza after 112 years.
With July 11, 2016, 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.
Reigning Asia No. 1 Anirban Lahiri (world rank 62) and reigning Indian Open champion SSP Chawrasia (world rank 207) were placed 20th and 45th respectively in the International Golf Federation’s (IGF) ranking list which was updated at around 2100 hrs Indian Standard Time on July 11, 2016. The two Indians have now officially sealed their places in the elite field of 60 players.
Md Siddikur Rahman (world rank 308), a two-time Asian Tour winner, was placed 56th in the qualification list and will therefore represent Bangladesh at the Rio Olympics. He will be the third PGTI member, after Lahiri and Chawrasia, to earn a ticket to Rio.
Anirban Lahiri, a winner of seven international titles, will be spearheading India’s campaign at Rio. Anirban, who has been plying his trade on the PGA Tour this season, had enjoyed an exceptional season in 2015 with two wins on the European Tour and a phenomenal tied fifth finish at the PGA Championship, the best result for an Indian at a Major till date.
Last year, Lahiri also created history by becoming the first Indian to be a part of the International Team at the Presidents Cup. He has had a long spell in the world’s top-50 in 2016 and had all but sealed his Olympic berth at the start of the year. Anirban will be playing his ninth successive Major when he tees it up at the British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland this week.
Interestingly, the Rio Olympics will be Lahiri’s second outing at a quadrennial multi-sporting event. He had earlier participated at the 2006 Doha Asian Games where he was part of the Indian team that won the silver medal.
While speaking to PGTI on Monday, after confirmation of his qualification for the Olympics, a confident Anirban said, “Olympian Anirban Lahiri sounds good, but Olympic medalist Anirban Lahiri would sound way better.”
SSP Chawrasia, a winner of four international titles, including three on the European Tour, notched up a long-awaited victory at the Indian Open earlier this year that propelled him into 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.
As per the current IGF ranking list for the Olympic men’s competition, India will be one of 24 nations to have more than one player in the field. There are a total of 17 participants from Asia who will be representing nine different countries.
Mr. Uttam Singh Mundy, Director, PGTI, said, “We’re excited about the prospect of seeing two of India’s top professionals Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia competing at the world’s biggest sporting event. Anirban and SSP have both been great ambassadors for Indian golf over the years, both on and off the course. We’re confident that Anirban and SSP will once again make India proud with their performance at the Olympics. We’re also proud of the fact that PGTI member Md Siddikur Rahman will be representing Bangladesh in the elite field. We wish Anirban, SSP and Siddikur all the best for the Rio Olympics.”
Lahiri and Chawrasia will be part of India’s largest ever contingent at the Olympics which consists of a total of 120 athletes.
While the Olympics will be held from August 5 – 21, 2016, the men’s golf competition will be staged at the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro from August 11 – 14.