June 29 was a great day for women's sports in India, as Aditi Ashok, the lone golfer on the LPGA Tour, and veteran discus thrower Seema Punia qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2021, which is scheduled to be held later this month.
First Female Golfer In Tokyo Games
Aditi Ashok became the first female golfer from India to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, June 29. The 23-year-old girl from Bengaluru qualified in 45th place in the 60-player field, as per the list announced by the International Golf Federation. She was one of the few Indian athletes who were always in contention for the Tokyo Games since the qualification rounds began in July 2018. She was 28th in the Olympic ranking back three years back.
"A two-time Olympian always sounds better than just one time, "Aditi told The Times of India. She had participated in the Rio Games in 2016. An elated Aditi further said that she is honoured to represent India at the biggest stage and that she is excited to go to Tokyo next month.
A Second Opportunity
The Arjuna Awardee's Tokyo berth was never in doubt, unlike in Rio 2016 when she had just turned professional. Since then, she has participated in two of the biggest Tours – LPGA and Ladies European Tour (LET), which almost ensured her qualification in the Tokyo Games. Tokyo will allow her to make up for the Rio performance.
The three-time LET winner was stuck at home during the second wave of coronavirus and missed eight weeks of golf. However, she will look to play in three to four tournaments before she leaves for Tokyo. The world No 178 will be playing in the Volunteers of America Classic tournament in Texas this week.
Gold Medal Seals Seema Punia's Spot In The Olympics
On the same day, Seem Punia, the 37-year-old discus thrower, also booked her ticket for the Tokyo Olympics with the best effort of 63.70 metres and winning gold at the National Inter-State Athletics Championships.
Seema, who had won the bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games and silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, bettered the Olympic qualification mark set at 63.50 metres. Her performance also beat the meet record of 62.62.49 metres, set by Neelam J Singh in Chennai in 2000.
"I have worked hard over the last two and half years since the Asian Games and am happy that I could secure qualification," said the veteran thrower from Uttar Pradesh after qualifying for the Olympics, as per The Quint.
Second Woman To Qualify
Tokyo Games will be Punia's fourth Olympic appearance after the 2004, 2012, and 2016 Games. She became the second Indian woman to take part in discus throw in Tokyo Olympics, after Kamalpreet Kaur, the national record holder, threw the disc to a distance of 66.59 metres in the Indian Grand Prix 4 on Monday.