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Second-highest ranked Indian golfer, Udayan Mane, officially booked his ticket for the Tokyo Olympics to be held this year. With this, he has become the second Indian male golfer after Anirban Lahiri to qualify for the mega-event. The 30-year-old will play his first-ever Olympics, which is starting from July 23.
The Chennai-born golfer sealed his spot after Argentina's Emiliano Grillo withdrew from the event on June 24. However, the official announcement was made on July 6 with Mane finding himself placed at No. 60 on the Olympic Golf ranking list, made available on the International Golf Federation's (IGF) website.
After an incredible 2020-21 season on the PGTI, Mane thought he had almost sealed his Olympic berth. However, the lockdown in India put some doubts in his mind on whether he could make the cut. "I'm still pinching myself as it hasn't yet sunk in fully," Mane said.
Mane, ranked at 356 globally, had registered a crucial win in the last tournament he participated in just before the lockdown was announced. He birdied the 72nd hole and managed to win at the Delhi-NCR Open in March. The points he scored helped him secure his Olympic spot.
"Even a second place would not have been enough," he said.
Now, a resident of Pune, Mane has been one of the most successful golfers on the PGTI since 2015, when he turned professional. He is an 11-time winner on the PGTI and is one of the only two players, besides Ashok Kumar, to have won three back-to-back events on the tour, according to The Indian Express.
He made that record between December 2019 and February 2020 when he won TATA Steel Tour Championship 2019, 'Vooty and Haldi Presents Golconda Masters 2020' and TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2020.
Mane had also represented India at the Incheon Asian Games and the Eisenhower Trophy in Japan in 2014. He hopes to use his experience playing in Japan and participating in a multi-sport mega-event like Asian Games at the Tokyo Olympics.
Udayan Mane will join Anirban Lahiri to make up a two-member Indian team for the men's golf event in Tokyo. The event will feature 60 players and be played at the Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29 to August 1.
Anirban Lahiri, the highest-ranked Indian golfer at 340, became the first Indian male golfer to qualify for the Tokyo Games 2021 two weeks ago. It will be Lahiri's second consecutive Olympic appearance, having represented India at the Rio Games 2016, along with SSP Chawrasia.
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