Games & medals
Rio de Janeiro 2016 2016
Aditi ASHOK biography
With Ladies European Tour titles, regular appearances at the Ladies Professional Golf Tour (LPGA) and the tag of being the first female Indian golfer at the Olympics, it is easy to see why Aditi Ashok is considered a trailblazer for the women’s game in India.
Born in a middle-class household in Bengaluru, Aditi Ashok was first attracted to golf when at the age of five, she noticed the lush-green course at the Karnataka Golf Association. And once she accompanied her father to the course one morning, there was no looking back.
Juggling her studies at Bengaluru’s renowned Frank Anthony Public School and her passion for the sport, the Indian golfer started regularly practising at the course and played at local tournaments.
Aditi Ashok won her first state-level trophies, the Karnataka Junior and South Indian Junior Championships as a 13-year-old in 2011. In what was her most impressive feat then, she also went on to win the National Amateur title that year.
Ashok would soon go on to build a reputation as a teen achiever by clinching the National Junior Championships for the next three years – 2012, 2013 and 2014 - and holding both the junior and senior titles in 2014.
She steadily grew to become the only Indian golfer to play at the Asian Youth Games (2013), the Youth Olympics and the Asian Games - both in 2014.
Aditi Ashok’s impressive amateur career reached its peak when she won the Ladies British Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2015 and turned pro on January 1, 2016.
However, the biggest moment of the golfer’s budding career would come six months down the line.
In August 2016, Aditi Ashok created history when she became the first Indian woman golfer to play at the Rio Olympics and at 18 years old, was also the youngest contender in the women’s event.
While Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia were well-known and established professionals in India, very few had heard of Aditi Ashok beyond the golfing community.
So, it was truly remarkable that she led the second round at the Olympic Golf Course for a brief period, even more so considering she was ranked 57th out of 60 heading into the tournament.
But without much competitive golf experience under her belt leading into the tournament, Ashok could not sustain her challenge and she eventually finished 41st out of the 60 golfers, 23 shots behind eventual gold medallist Inbee Park.
However, the ripples it created in India were unexpected for the recently turned adult, who had turned professional only six months prior, and it was a feeling of great pride for the Indian golfer.
“I read somewhere that the Google searches for golf from India were huge after that. Just seeing the impact it had and the exposure it got at the time was a big deal for me,” she recalled.
Richer with the experience, the year held more joy for Aditi Ashok. She won her first Ladies European Tour (LET) title in October and the fact that it had come at the Indian Open, her home tournament making it even more special.
The Bengaluru girl, who collects lapel pins as a hobby, won her second title at the Qatar Open a week later, picking up the ‘LET Rookie of the Year’ award for her efforts and has only added to her skill sets and temperament since.
Ashok continues to break new ground for her sport, becoming India's first representative on the LPGA Tour after making the switch in 2017.
Having completed three seasons on the leading professional women's golf circuit, Ashok has enjoyed three top ten finishes.