Yan Jing

She has a yen for Tokyo Games

Five years is a long time to wait but for this trio of women professional golfers, it will be worth it as the Tokyo Games draw near. Kimberly Kwek looks at their Olympic hopes and dreams.

Yan Jing turned pro in 2015 in a bid to qualify for Rio. But she fell short of securing an Olympic berth, with bronze medallist Feng Shanshan and Lin Xiyu representing China eventually.
Yan Jing turned pro in 2015 in a bid to qualify for Rio. But she fell short of securing an Olympic berth, with bronze medallist Feng Shanshan and Lin Xiyu representing China eventually.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Just months into her freshman year at the University of Washington in 2015, China's Yan Jing turned professional in a bid to qualify for the following year's Rio Olympics.

But she fell short of securing an Olympic berth, with bronze medallist Feng Shanshan and Lin Xiyu representing China eventually.

With six years of LPGA Tour experience under her belt now, the 25-year-old, who grew up in Singapore, is taking another swing at Olympic qualification.

But with more experience comes added expectations and Yan knows that making it to this year's Tokyo Games will be an uphill task.

Her world ranking of No. 117 puts her as the second replacement behind world No. 61 Liu Yu, who occupies the country's second and final spot for the July 23-Aug 8 Games.

Yan, who is in Singapore for the HSBC Women's World Championship, said: "It's definitely a big goal of mine and right now I'm not in the best position... I need to play relatively well in order to make it, so I hope I can do that.

"I was one spot shy (for the Rio Games). Ever since the beginning of my professional career, I've wanted to make it happen.

"When I'd just turned pro, I was trying to get my bearings on tour. I really wanted to do it, but it didn't happen so I tried to put it behind me."

This year, Yan has made three cuts in six starts, with her best performance coming at March's Kia Classic where she finished joint-12th.

Before the season, she returned to Singapore for about 1½ months and trained at the Laguna National and Seletar Country Club.

The Chinese golfer is hoping to reap a Tokyo reward this time, adding: "Every year, all the girls are getting better and I think for everyone, the big goal is to make it to the Olympics.

"Right now, if I face obstacles, I'm better prepared because I'm more experienced to deal with them. But I can only control what I do on the course and, at the end of the day, you can play your best and still not be able to get it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 02, 2021, with the headline 'She has a yen for Tokyo Games'. Subscribe