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Striking splendor – meet Chanelle Wangari, 10

Chanelle Wangari, 10 years old, is a young golfer who has flown the Kenyan flag high in different countries. She is currently in North Carolina for the US Kids Golf World Championship, the largest and most prestigious event in the world for players 12 years and under, which is set to happen in August 3-7.

Wangari started playing golf when she was five years old in 2011, and so far, she has won about 20 trophies and five medals, both nationally and internationally, and other gifts.

Though things are going well for her now, at first, her parents were reluctant to let her join golf. However, after the intervention of her school’s sports director, they allowed her.

“I used to watch golf on TV, but I didn’t know that this would be my future career. When I joined Makini School, there was a golf playing session and I was interested to join. I used to sneak and follow the golfers around the school course, and when I was given a go-ahead by my parents, I was really happy,” she says.

Despite her tight schedule, she knows how to plan her time, and she has been performing well in school, because her love for education cannot be taken by something else. Maths and English are her favourite subjects.

“I believe that when I am in school, I should think about school, and when I am playing, I should think about playing. I practise every day for four hours at Muthaiga Golf Club or Vet Lab Golf Course except on Sundays,” says Wangari.

This year, she started at handicap 36, but, currently, she is at handicap 17, which shows how committed she is in the game, and she believes that when she grows up, she will be a professional golfer. A golf handicap is the measure in numbers of a golfer’s capability.

A player with a higher handicap is considered poorer compared to one with a lower handicap. Wangari’s uncle, also a golfer, is her role model. She has had many firsts including being the first non-handicapped Kenyan junior to win The Africa Junior Challenge held in South Africa when she was seven years old. Her biggest achievement is that she got her first hole-in-one this year during a practice round at Karen Country Club for 160 yards.

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