2nd May, 2012
The odds are against the amateur golfers from Minna Cantonement Golf Club, who attended the recently concluded 1st KGI All African Junior Golf Championship.
The trio, Paul Odoh (Jnr), John Odoh and Peter Idoko, who all qualified for the U.S Kids European Championship, have failed to secure sponsorships to make the trip in June.
Although Paul Odoh (Jnr), son of the late professional golfer, Paul Odoh, secured sponsorship, a whistle blower questioned the age of the young golfer, believed to be either 11 or 12 years old, but plays in the age 10 category. It’s difficult to ascertain Paul’s real age.
Spokesperson for Kids Golf International, Ireti Ibironke, explained that golf is a game of integrity and KGI, as an association, takes matters of any falsification seriously.
According to Ireti, “The young man is a good player no doubt. He won both the singles stroke event and the match play. Unfortunately, the medals were not presented to him due to the allegation which has not be proven otherwise.”
Ireti added: “Nigeria has passed the age of no accurate birth records, baptismal certificates or school records to verify age. More so, our parents did what they did to remain in civil service. Time has moved on and we as parents should take more responsibilities towards our children’s records.
“As an organisation, we are growing young ambassadors of Nigeria for the future, so our reputation with the U.S Kids Golf Foundation, the UK and US Embassies, the PGA, USGA and other golfing bodies is at stake if we take issues like this lightly. It will be in the interest of everyone, especially young Paul, who no doubt is destined to be great golfer, to start on a good note and avoid controversies like this one”.
“However, that responsibility lies on the shoulders of those who are guiding him until he is old enough to make decisions for himself.”