Udayan Mane is one of two golfers who will represent India at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the Men's Golf event, which will start from July 29.
After turning professional in 2015, Mane has been one of the most successful golfers on the PGTI (Professional Golf Tour of India) circuit.
An 11-time winner on the PGTI, he’s one of just two players to have won three consecutive events on the tour.
In an exclusive chat with SportsAdda, the Indian golfer spoke about his Olympic dream and golfing journey ahead of participating at Tokyo 2020.
“I have represented India before but never on this scale. It’s exciting, it’s nervy, and a little anxious but more than anything I am full of pride and hungry to deliver glory to the nation,” Mane said
“I think it’s one of those events where I have been rubbing shoulders with the best of the best in the game so I am looking forward to that and hopefully learning as much as I can,” he added.
Mane also admitted that his qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was far from planned.
“It just so happened that I won three events in a row and lost the fourth one in a playoff so I accumulated enough world ranking points to be the highest ranked Indian at the time. The Olympics were around that time and by default I had already qualified.
“It was never planned or anything. When I realised I had qualified for the Olympics the first time, then it became a goal. It was more like setting small little goals and what can I do to keep winning,” he said.
The experienced Anirban Lahiri, who will also represent India in the golf event in Tokyo 2020, has played an important role in Mane’s development as a professional golfer.
“We have been on a call on a regular basis actually. Just talking about logistics and what's happening with our process, the time schedules, and all of that. He has been instrumental in my early years as an amateur and professional golfer but ever since he has moved to the USA, the physical presence of being around each other has reduced quite a bit,” he said.
“Over the last 2-3 years not so much but we have been good friends for the last 10-15 years now so finally I will get to meet him in Tokyo and I am looking forward to that,” Mane added.
Mane also insisted that he is unfazed by the pressure of being a first-time Olympian.
“It’s all on the mindset. You can have a choice to take pressure or not take pressure. So my choice is to not take pressure. It’s still a tournament, everyone has to adapt, almost everyone will probably be playing for the first time.
“It might be the biggest of stages but the game, golf course, and everything else remains the same and I am good at doing that. So I just have to go there and do what I am good at,” Mane said.
He also feels that the entire Indian contingent has what it takes to secure medals and will put on a good show that will make the nation proud.
“I feel we are going to do great in Tokyo. I have seen how hard the athletes have been training and I think this time we are bound to turn heads around,” Mane insisted.
Featured photo : Udayan Mane / Instagram