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Mane second Indian golfer to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

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Mumbai, July 6 (IANS) Udayan Mane was on Tuesday confirmed as the 60th ranked player on the Tokyo Olympic Games entry list, joining compatriot Anirban Lahiri as the second Indian in the field.

The 30-year-old Mane, currently the second-highest ranked Indian in the world at 356, made the cut for his maiden Olympics after Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo announced withdrawal from the quadrennial event, the Professional Golf tour of India (PGTI) said in a release on Tuesday.

Though the Argentine had pulled out couple of weeks back, Mane had to wait for the official confirmation that came on Tuesday when the International Golf Federation updated the list. Mane was placed at No.60 on the Olympic Golf Rankings list with Lahiri at No.59.

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“I’m really excited about getting the opportunity to represent India at the Olympics. In fact, I’m still pinching myself as it hasn’t yet sunk in fully. With a great 2020-21 season on the PGTI, I felt that I had almost sealed my qualification for the Olympics but the lockdown in India this year put some doubts in my mind whether I could actually make the cut for Tokyo,” said Mane.

The Chennai-born Mane who grew up in Bengaluru and now resides in Pune has been one of the most successful golfers on the PGTI since he turned professional in 2015. The six feet four inches tall Udayan is an 11-time winner on the PGTI.

Mane, who holds the record for being the only rookie to have won two titles on the tour back in 2015, was excited on getting the chance to represent the country in the Olympics.

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Mane now has more purpose to his practice schedule as he has begun preparing vigorously for Tokyo. He has good vibes in Japan for multiple reasons that could eventually comfort him when he leaves Indian shores for the Games.

“I spoke to Rahil Gangjee about the conditions in Japan. It’s expected to be the beginning of summer so I guess it will be cool in the mornings and evenings and a little warm in the afternoons. I have played in Japan before during the 2014 Eisenhower Trophy when I shot a 14-under for the week and finished 13th at the event. Until 2018 that was the best finish and score by an Indian at the event. So, Japan has been nice to me on the only occasion I’ve been there,” he added.

Lahiri, the highest-ranked Indian golfer at 340, will be appearing in his second consecutive Olympic Games as he had also represented India at the 2016 Rio Olympics along with SSP Chawrasia.

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The men’s golf event in Tokyo will feature 60 players and will be played at the Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29 to August 1.

–IANS

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