Jacinta Njeri: Defying odds to scale Golfing charts

Jacinta Njeri: Defying odds to scale Golfing charts

15-year old Jacinta Njeri is a beneficiary of the Safaricom Golf tour

The Safaricom Golf tour brought different opportunities to players across different cadres of life with one of  the tournament’s mantra being “Demystifying and taking golf to the people.”

Over 9,000 golfers participated in the successful tournament that was sponsored by Safaricom, featuring in different categories of the sport including corporate and junior tournaments. More importantly, the series featured golf clinics and Outreach programs that were aimed at taking the sport closer to the people as well as introducing it to as many juniors as possible.

Among those who stood out as great beneficiaries of the initiative included Jacinta Njeri, a 15-year-old student at the  Ngala School for the Deaf in Nakuru. Jacinta, in her recent chat with our Michezoafrika.com  says she was introduced to golfing -by chance- a few months back.

We had a great chance for a sit down with the young prodigy who talked to us about juggling school, training, and manoeuvring the hearing world of golf as a differently abled person and her future in the sport.  

How did you come to learn about golf?

A lady by the name Nancy Steinmann had come to collect the young ones for trial practice at the Nakuru golf club and we the senior pupils were asked to escort them. As we were playfully toying around on the field, she noted that I had a special skill and thought I had a hand for golf and chose to sponsor me in learning more about the sport.

What was the feeling of playing your first tournament and the secret to your win?

Playing the first tournament, which I won was very enjoyable. Winning came as a surprise to me and a lot of people around me, including my teachers. I can say the reason for my win is because I applied what my caddie and coach taught me during practice. 

What is different about golf compared to other sports you have participated in?

Aside’s golf, I engaged in other sports like athletics, but what makes golf stand out is that it is an interesting and unique sport for me. Considering my background and ability, golf is a game that never crossed my mind.

Not a lot of energy is required in comparison to others. It is a simple game to me.    

How has the Safaricom golf tournament that you won helped you grow as an individual?

Safaricom has provided a platform for me to showcase my skills. When they came for the first time, they provided uniforms for us asides taking care of us logistically.

How does playing the sport make you feel and who do you look up to in the game?

Golf is quite enjoyable. I admire the American golf team; I watch a lot of their games on television. So far, I have not identified an individual as I watch in general.

What are the values that go into being a good golfer?

I have learned that one has to be honest and truthful, especially when scoring marks. The sport requires a lot of focus. One has to train the eye to always be on the ball.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years when it comes to the game?

I hope to go professional and hopefully travel to play in major tournaments around the world.

I come from a humble background and so my family was a bit surprised when they heard that I was into such a sport as they also did not know much about it. Still, my mother is my biggest support.  

What are the challenges you have encountered so far?

When I started playing, my worry was on how the sport was going to accommodate me considering I have a hearing impairment. The fears have diminished overtime and I can say I relate quite well with the rest, including my Coach and caddie. My training has to be athletes five days a week, a trend I am struggling to keep up with because of my classes and logistics to get to the golf grounds.