The lady in the putting greens
By A Sharadhaa - BANGALORE
07th November 2012 11:36 AM
For Sharmila Nicollet, the age of 12 made all the difference. For her a golf stick and a ball was not just something to play; it was something which meant precision, patience, calculation and observation. It became clear that she was indeed a child prodigy when at age 15 she won her first tournament.
Now, Six-feet tall and all of 21 years with model-looks, she is the youngest lady golf player. Having captured global attention, this young sensation had a passion for sports right from the beginning. She has been a state level swimmer and won several medals; she is also good at basketball, horse riding, and tennis. But it was golf that struck the right chord with her.
“Being the youngest golf star, it was pretty tough to match with other elder players. It is quite intimidating to be associated with top players in each country and at places where I travel. But it has actually helped me to develop my personality and be more mature,” she said
‘Golf is still a man’s game’
Sharmila Nicollet wants to emulate Saina Nehwal to give the sport a facelift
She further added, “I know my goals and I want to win international tournaments.” Considering that Golf is a ‘luxury’ sport, she states that she is lucky as her family background allows her to pursue the sport. “It is quite unfortunate that a common man cannot afford to pursue this sport. I have seen players who are really good but cannot travel internationally because of financial constraints.
It is pretty sad to see so many talented golfers like Muniyappa, who has won at the Indian open level, but has still not been able to go international,” says Sharmila, who reasons that it is mainly lack of infrastructure and government support.
“Sometimes it becomes tough for me also to travel and bear the expenditure. Being in India and travelling abroad is quite expensive. I can only imagine the opportunities other common people are missing out as this game is not funded by the government nor do we get any kind of support,” she asserted.
According to her a lot of sponsors should shift their money from the game of cricket which is considered a religion and invest in other games. “If the government and private sector can’t help us with finance, they should at least help us with our travel arrangements and accommodation.
If an average professional player needs to succeed internationally, the government should support him financially so that they get an opportunity to play and put our country on the globe,” she states.
Another issue that Sharmila highlights is that of discrimination. She says. “This game has become more of a men’s professional sport and they get more attention as well. It is pretty sad that no one gives attention to women. I want to emulate someone like Saina Nehwal to give a facelift to women participation in golf.”
She also states that there should be more exposure about the sport through media. “Such games should often be shown on TV for common people to learn about it. Right now, they remotely understand the game. Publicity is the main concern here,” she opined.
Sharmila has tips for aspiring golf players.
“If you are a kid, go to camps as it is the best way to start golf and have fun. Parents should not force them but make them fall in love with the game. Give them the opportunity to excel in whatever they like to do,” she said.
Given her stunning looks, she also wants to bring in her sexy side to the sport. “Being half french and half Indian, I think I should add a little bit glam to it. Being a youngster it does create a lot of hype,” said Sharmila.
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