Golf: Ko keen to represent NZ at Rio Olympics in 2016

Lydia Ko. Photo / Supplied
Lydia Ko. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand's world No1 amateur golfer Lydia Ko has her sights on competing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in four years.

Ko, 15, became the first New Zealand woman to win the US Amateur Championship.

"One of my main goals in the next few years is building towards the 2016 Olympics in Rio," said Ko.

"I would love to represent New Zealand at the Olympics. Hopefully in four years' time my game has improved and I am in a good position to compete for a place in the team and maybe even contend for a medal. That would be an amazing experience."

Golf and sevens rugby are the new sports to be voted into the Olympics. The 2016 Games will include 28 sports and 38 disciplines in total.

South Korean-born Ko's future looks bright - she has broken a plethora of records in her short and successful amateur career.

A good omen for the future was the composure she showed in her major debut at the US Women's Open, where she finished leading amateur surrounded by the world's best golfers. In January, she won the NSW Open at the age of 14 to become the youngest person to win a pro tour event.

Gregg Thorpe, New Zealand Golf's high performance manager, believes that Ko has all the makings of a medal contender.

"At this stage of her career the signs are very positive," he said.

"If you follow the current performance pathway that Lydia is on, where she has proven to be very consistent on the international stage at such a young age, then it suggests that she will be very competitive in Rio and certainly a chance at a medal."

David Smail, New Zealand's No2-ranked professional, is also keen to compete at Rio.

"I'll be definitely trying for Rio," said the 42-year-old, who has won five times on the Japan Golf Tour. "To be among the world's best athletes and part of the New Zealand team would be something really special."

- APNZ

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