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India's Aditi Ashok eyes consistency in performance ahead of Paris Olympics 2024

Published at :June 2, 2024 at 9:05 PM
Modified at :June 2, 2024 at 9:06 PM
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(Courtesy : aditigolf/Instagram)

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2024 has been a mixed year for 26-year-old Ladies Professional Golf Association regular.

Aditi Ashok made the cut this week at the US Women’s Open in Lancaster Country Club. As the 26-year-old Ladies Professional Golf Association regular prepares herself for the Paris Olympics, every tournament will count for the Union sports ministry’s Target Olympics Podium Scheme-funded athlete, in quest of her first medal in her third Summer Games after debuting for India at Rio 2016.

“I feel I’ve gotten better with all aspects of my game. Year 2023 especially was a great year performance wise and that’s because I managed to pick up some distance in the off season last year. I would say winning a medal is pretty high up there in terms of career achievements,” Aditi told SAI Media in an exclusive interview.

It’s been a mixed 2024 for Aditi, whose best finish — tied 35th with a score of 2-under par — was at the Cognizant Founders Cup in April-May this year. Aditi did not make the cut in her last event, the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National, but that’s part of the business at the highest level and no reflection on what to expect at the Paris Games or even in your next professional tournament.

“My results have been average, I would say. Have played good in streaks but not for all four days. I do feel I’m playing well so I’m looking forward to the summer events leading up to the Olympics. No special plans I would say,” said Aditi, who is receiving INR 57 lakhs assistance from TOPS for the Paris Olympics 2024 cycle.

After dominating the opening three rounds, Aditi Ashok missed a medal at Tokyo 2020 by a whisker in the final round. She won a silver at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou. It could well have been a gold for the Bangalorean, but then in golf, a game of fine margins, it boils down to nerves and consistency.

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“I think I played some of my best golf in Tokyo. And I was hitting the ball so short that week that I don’t think I could’ve done anything more to play any better. I think I was the most efficient with my game that week. So with Tokyo I gained a lot of confidence I would say and not much learning.

“With the Asian Games I played one of my worst rounds of the year on the final day. Which was after the best round of my life on the third day. So sometimes you fail and there’s no reason as to why,” said Aditi, adding: “In 2023, I finished in the top 10 eight different times apart from winning twice. I think I could’ve won any of those eight tournaments too but people seem to remember only the Asian Games performance and not the others whether good or bad,” she said.

The golf competition at the Paris Games is still a couple of months away and Aditi is scheduled to play at least another eight events leading up to the Olympics. Cracking consistent form, as she did in 2023, will be her biggest aim.

“I think if you have a solid foundation with your overall game, those (good) days will get more consistent. For me personally, game wise, I know hitting the ball further will help with proximity to the hole which will make me more consistent everyday so that’s what I’m usually focusing on,” added Aditi, currently the highest ranked Indian at 51 on the Official World Golf Rankings and 25th (out of 60) in Olympic Golf Ranking.

Course knowledge plays a big role in doing well in any event and Aditi wants to get a feel of the Le Golf National, the competition venue at the Paris Games. She is planning to train there ahead of the Games but till then it will be the events that will grab her immediate attention.

“I’m looking at each event with the same importance and trying to do my best for all four days each week. That should get me in a good frame of mind and routine before the games and hopefully that will be enough at Paris,” said Aditi.

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