India's top golfers Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia will be representing the nation at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as the sport makes its return to the quadrennial sporting extravaganza after a gap of 112 years.
Along with the seasoned duo, young Aditi Ashok will represent the country in the women's event. With July 11 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 9 pm Indian Standard Time on July 11, 2016.
The two Indians have now officially sealed their places in the elite field of 60 players. While speaking to PGTI 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." 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.