Last weekend, the Safaricom Golf Tour was hosted at Nakuru Golf club where as a first in the tour, there were participants from the deaf community. This not only shows the inclusivity of sports in general, but also drives home the point that challenges should not necessarily stand in the way of trying out new things in life.
This is demonstrated by the story of 15-year-old Jecinta Njeri, a sports enthusiast and student at Ngala School for the Deaf in Nakuru. Other than golf which she tried for the first time at Nakuru Golf Club, Njeri is also keen and active in dancing, athletics, obstacle race, volleyball and net ball. In the past she has also tried her hand at other sports like sack race and tennikoit. For dancing, volleyball, and netball, she plays both for fun and for competition.
Njeri is excited to have discovered and taken part in a new sport that she would never have thought of had the Safaricom Golf Tour not gone knocking on the doors of Nakuru. Yes, she has seen people playing golf before and in her words, her first impression of the game was that it is fashionable. She just always felt that it is out of her reach.
Fast forward Sunday 10th and she hit her first ball. From that golf clinic alone, she could see that it is a game that requires patience, concentration, respect for other players and honesty. This is very much in line with the message of Nelly Gatonye, a life coach who mentors children and teenagers and whom we spoke to at the Nyanza leg of the tour. Golf instills life skills and disciplines like time management, focus, patience and honesty and all these eventually play into mental wellbeing of players.
Njeri sees no other way she could have ventured into golf and is very grateful to Safaricom for planting the seed through the tour. Her story is a clear demonstration of the purpose of the golf tour to demystify the game and make it inclusive for all. The fact that she is living with a hearing disability that does not stop her from reaching for her goals shows that life goes on into a series of wins and her latest win is getting to play golf. She has a few words of encouragement for people with similar challenges. “Go for it. Golf is a normal game that all kids can play, hearing impaired or otherwise”.
She is also very grateful to her teachers who spotted her sporting talent and have been working to build it. She intends to carry on playing golf in future and incorporate it into her many sporting activities.