KAWAGOE, Japan – India’s Aditi Ashok took a moment to wipe tears from her eyes before making her way through the gauntlet, the twisting area where players come to talk to the media.
Even at 23, Ashok is comfortable giving interviews, but following the final round at the Olympic women's golf competition there were so many emotions.
She’d finished with a 68 for a 15-under total, which was one shot outside a spot on the podium. It was an impressive performance following an equally impressive outing at the 2016 Games, but Ashok had no interest in moral victories.
“I tried my best to hole the last few putts and just knowing – because in a regular tournament whether you finish second or fourth it really doesn't matter, no one cares,” she said. “But at this event you need to be in the top 3. I didn't leave anything out there, I think I gave it 100 percent, but, yeah, fourth at an Olympics where they give out three medals kind of sucks.”
Ashok grabbed a share of the lead with three birdies through four holes on the front nine and rebounded from a bogey at No. 11 with birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 before playing her last four holes in even par to finish alone in fourth place.
Although she couldn’t hide her disappointment in not winning a medal, Ashok said she understood what her performance means for golf in India.
“When I started golf I never dreamt of being or contending at the Olympics, golf wasn't even an Olympic sport,” she said. “Sometimes you just pick it up and work hard and have fun every day and sometimes you get here.”