As the golf competition at the Tokyo Olympics tees off on Thursday, the Indian hopes rest on the performance of Anirban Lahiri and Udayan Mane. Both the season campaigners are hoping to change the face of the sport in India with a strong finish at Tokyo.
Lahiri is just coming off a top-3 finish on the PGA Tour. And with no cut being applied in the field of 60 players, Lahiri has the game to push for a medal.
"It'll be huge," said Lahiri on the prospect of a medal in golf for India.
"As you can imagine, it's a big deal. The Olympics is a big deal. We had our first (women's weightlifting) silver on the first day of the Games...I can feel how it will boost that sport positively and I would love for it to happen in golf," he added.
At the Kasumigaseki Country Club, S Chikkarangappa is accompanying Lahiri as his caddie. Chikkarangappa is one of the hottest names on the Indian domestic golf circuit. In the last couple of years, he has finished in the top-3 on the Indian tour multiple times.
Mane has his usual caddie Rupesh. Both Lahiri and Mane train with Vijay Divecha.
The women's event to be held next week will see Aditi Ashok in action and it will be her second Olympics like Lahiri.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Lahiri had finished 57th in a pool of 60 golfers. The 34-year-old would be looking to make amends at the Tokyo Games.
Back then, he was coming off an injury but this time, the 2015 Hero Indian Open winner, enters the week in good form following a top-three finish at the Barbasol Open, his best of the season.
On the other hand, Mane was the 60th golfer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Golf wasn't the first pick for the 30-year-old. Mane competed in basketball and swimming before picking golf.