Iyeneobong Essien is a 13-year-old Nigerian golf star with medals outnumbering her age.
Essien was the only teenager among the 177 golfers at the 2019 Nigeria Ladies Golf Open Championship. She took the 10th place.
She has competed in Africa, Europe, and the United States. She is the top junior player in Nigeria and on a mission to place her country on the world map.
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She is looking forward to grabbing the first gold medal for golf at the 2022 Summer Youth Olympics.
For her, what excites her about golf is that it is a game where one competes against him or herself and not other players. “Anything that goes wrong is still your mistake, you are the one playing so you cannot blame your caddy or anyone for the mistake you made,” she told Reuters.
Her journey as reported by Reuters began when her father saw her excitement upon seeing a young white boy playing at the IBB International Golf and Country Club in Abuja.
“He asked me if I wanted to play and I said yes, so he bought me clubs and got me a golf professional to train me,” she said.
At the age of five, she got her first medal. She now boasts of 17 medals and has participated in tournaments in three continents.
“She still has some room for growth and I think as I said by the age of 15 she will be ripe, you know, to take the golf world by storm,” her father, consultant economist, Eyo Essien, said.
Beyond Essien’s commitment to golf, she said she is balancing school and the game, and intends to study artificial intelligence and robotics at the university.
“In the next 10 years with a degree in my hand, I will play as a professional golfer,” she said.