BENGALURU: Ace Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri got an early birthday present in the form of a spot at the Tokyo Olympics. Lahiri, who turns 34 next Tuesday, got the 60th and final spot for the quadrennial Games, the list for which was announced by the International Golf Federation on Tuesday.
“I’m really surprised,” Lahiri told TOI over phone.
“Best surprise I have got in a while. @Tokyo2020 can’t believe I will have the opportunity once again to represent the tricolour,” Lahiri tweeted earlier.
Best surprise I have got in a while. @Tokyo2020 can’t believe I will have the opportunity once again to represent the tricolor 🇮🇳
— Anirban Lahiri (@anirbangolf) 1624369319000
“It feels fantastic to have got that opportunity again. Also having had the experience of being in an Olympics before helps. Because I am going to approach this one slightly differently and look at how I can play my best and also try and prepare myself in a way that I can do when I get to Japan,” added Lahiri, who will figure in the Travelers Championships on the PGA Tour in Connecticut this week.
The affable pro gets another chance to make up for the poor show at the Rio Olympics where he finished tied 57th. “I know it was unfortunate because I played injured and had a lot of issues at that point of time. So, I have another opportunity to really play my best. I am very grateful,” added Lahiri, currently the highest-ranked Indian at 340.
Having missed four weeks after testing positive for Covid-19, Lahiri is slowly getting his form back again. The fifth-place finish at the Texas Open in April probably helped him clinch the final Tokyo berth. That performance also catapulted him past Udayan Mane, who was the best-ranked Indian at that point. Mane too could make it as he is the No. 1 replacement in case of pullouts. The final list will be out on July 6.
“The fact that I got it, I put it down to good luck to some extent. I am just trying to play my best. I feel like I could have played much better than what I did couple of weeks back and I am beginning to play better golf. That’s what I want to focus on. Obviously the fifth place at Texas makes a big difference,” Lahiri pointed out.
About his preparation for Tokyo, he said: “I still have to stay focused on what I am trying to do here. I haven’t played consistently, so my immediate goal would be to lock up my status here. I am playing the next three weeks and I have to find the balance between my PGA Tour schedule and Tokyo. This has come as a big surprise and I haven’t gotten down to figuring out all my logistics, as opposed to Rio, where I knew I was going to play.”