Young Joan Chepkemei takes up golf in honour of late mother

Monday December 18 2017

Nine-year-old Joan Chepkemei works on her putting on the practice at Kitale Golf Club on November 25, 2017. The Moi Educational Centre pupil has taken up golf to honour her late mother Colleta Chemonges who died last October after a short illness. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

Nine-year-old Joan Chepkemei works on her putting on the practice at Kitale Golf Club on November 25, 2017. The Moi Educational Centre pupil has taken up golf to honour her late mother Colleta Chemonges who died last October after a short illness. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By GERALD BWISA
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A nine-year-old girl has decided to become a golfer to honour her late mother, a decision that has left her impressed father, family and friends in awe.

Joan Chepkemei, who will next month be joining Standard Five at the Moi Educational Centre in Lang’ata, Nairobi, left her father lost for words after she approached him with the idea, just two months after the death of her mother, Colleta Chemonges.

“After the burial of her mother, Joan approached me and requested if we could do something in honour of her,” her father Alex Chesosi, a businessman, told Nation Sport at the Kitale Club where he recently organised the inaugural Colleta Chemonges Memorial Golf Tournament in honour of his wife.

“That is when we thought of sponsoring a golf tournament at Kitale Club.”

Little did he know that his daughter had already decided to take up golfing and set out to make her debut at her mother’s memorial tournament.

The late Chemonges, 35, who was a career banker, died on October 14 this year after a short illness.

BORROWED GOLF CLUB

Chepkemei’s first experience on the golf course was a memorable one.

In the beginning, she could not sink a single putt at the practice green.

But after several attempts, and under the guidance by Patrick Kae, one of the golfers at the club, and using a borrowed golf club, she found her rhythm.

Nine-year-old Joan Chepkemei happily retrieves the ball after successfully sinking a putt at Kitale Golf Club on November 25, 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nine-year-old Joan Chepkemei happily retrieves the ball after successfully sinking a putt at Kitale Golf Club on November 25, 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“It was my first time to hold a golf club, and it seemed difficult but I got used to it after some attempts,” said emotional Chepkemei.

She revealed that it was her mother who instilled a sporting spirit in her, amongst many other virtues.

“My promise to all golfers is that this is only the beginning,” she said.

Joan has since enrolled with a expert coach to sharpen her skills. And the Kitale Club reciprocated announcing that, for the first time, a junior category will be introduced at the club in next year’s Colleta Chemonges Memorial Golf Tournament.

“Her desire is to be a scientist in life. The death of her mother has even ignited fire in her and she is quite focused. We have not seen the end of her success,” said Chesosi, adding that her daughter has exhibited exceptional leadership skills throughout the mourning period after her mother died.

Apart from golfing, Joan is an avid piano player and swimmer. She is also an active member of the ACK St Barnabas Otiende Church and always top of her class at the Moi Educational Centre.

Kitale Club captain Fandi Shiyuka, who recently cycled 1,000-kilometres from Kitale to Mombasa to raise funds for schools and an orphanage in Kitale, has appealed to golfers and other stakeholders to consider sponsoring next year’s Colleta Chemonges Memorial Golf Tournament.

The tournament will now be an annual fixture at the club.

Meanwhile, the inaugural tournament last month attracted 34 players.