2016 was a landmark year for Aditi Ashok.
The Indian golfer represented her country at the Olympics - and even led a round at Rio 2016 - won two Ladies European Tour (LET) titlesand earned her card to play in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour.
It was an astonishingly impressive run for the then 18-year-old in her first year as a professional, but probably none of it could match the joy of meeting her childhood idol Annika Sorenstam at the Olympics.
“I had read about her a lot, about how she dominated the LPGA for six or seven years,” Aditi Ashok told the Olympic Channel.
The Swedish star, an all-time great of the sport with 72 LPGA tour victories, including 10 majors, had retired in 2008 and was in Rio as part of the commentary team for a television channel for the women’s event at the 2016 Olympics.
“I finally got to meet her at the Rio Olympics. She actually walked with me for a couple of holes, and we chatted in between. It was a surreal experience,” the Indian golfer recalled.
Aditi Ashok, who was named ‘LET Rookie of the Year’ in 2016, an honour that Annika Sorenstam incidentally won 23 years prior, had come across the latter at a junior tournament earlier but had been tongue-tied then.
Growing up in the noughties also meant that the Bengaluru-based golfer counted one of the sport’s most renowned names among her favourites.
“As a kid, I could only watch men’s golf on television and I was fascinated by Tiger Woods,” she revealed. “I remember I used to wake up early (because of the time difference in the USA) and tune in to watch him play.”
Now that she spends most of her time playing in the United States, Aditi Ashok hopes to run into him someday. Perhaps even at the Tokyo Olympics next year?