By Olanrewaju Akojede
Lagos – George Inalegwu of St. David Mark Golf Academy and Country Club, Akpegede, Benue, has won the 4th Awa Ibrahim Junior Golf Open Championships at the Ikeja Golf Club.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the annual three-day competition, aimed at discovering young golfers aged 15 and below, was used to mark golf enthusiast, Alhaji Awa Ibrahim’s birthday on Oct. 19.
The competition ended on Saturday with Inalegwu winning the grand prize, while Friday Peters emerged second in the U-16 male category.
For the U-10 to U-13 category, Emmanuel Aleji from St. David Mark Golf Academy is the champion, while Okoko Godman from the same academy emerged second.
In the U-9 category, Weng Davou of St. David Mark Golf Academy took the first prize, while from the same academy, Godwin Okoko emerged the first runner-up.
In the Girls U-16, Georgia Oboh from Ikoyi Golf Club led the pack as she returned the overall winner.
Also, in the U-13 to U-16 category, Naisha Nandal from Ikoyi Golf Club came out tops, while in U-9 and below, Faith Bawa took the first price.
The boys’ champion, Inalegwu, said the win was a reward from his hard work while preparing for the competition, adding that it had been his dream to be a champion in golf.
“I always want to play golf and I don’t get tired of it at all. We have a good academy where we are trained to become champions.
“I missed last year’s competition because I was in school and my school calendar of event did not permit me, but this year, I made a promise to do all it takes to win.
“This is my sixth year playing golf and I thank God I am able to make something out of it.
“I also want to thank the organisers of Awa Ibrahim Junior Golf Championships for giving us this platform to showcase our talents,’’ he said.
Also, the best girl for the tournament, U.K. based-Oboh said that though the level of golf playing in Nigeria was not at par with the U.K. yet, she saw prospects in the Nigerian Challenge.
“From my experience, the sport is still growing in Nigeria, and I don’t expect someone playing for just three years to be at my level.
“I have been playing golf about 10 years ago now, about all my life playing golf. The main thing is to ensure that more children are encouraged to play golf,’’ she said.
The sponsor of the championships, Dr Awa Ibrahim, urged the young golfers to take their studies seriously as it was the only way to the full realisation of their life pursuits.
“I will not like the case whereby you will drop out of school playing golf and that is the reason the cash price is attached to your scholarships.
“I want to see you fulfil your potential by coming out tops in your studies, so we have also increased the cash price to N200, 000.
“Those that are not captured in the scholarship scheme are third place winners but now they are also to receive N50, 000 in scholarships which will be paid directly to their school accounts.
“Other winners in the first day but unable to win in the overall medals table will also have N50, 000 in scholarships now,’’ he said.
No fewer than 150 children nationwide participated in the competition.