The course is set for Nigerian teen golfer, Iyene Essien, the top junior player in the game of golf in Nigeria. On a winning streak, since she was only five years old, young Iyene is currently sitting on an impressive record of 17 medals and 11 international tournaments.
Essien, who has competed in Africa, Europe, and the United States, looks forward to the 2022 Summer Youth Olympics, where she hopes to grab the first gold medal for golf in honor of her home country, Nigeria.
Her interest in the sport developed from watching a young white boy playing at the IBB International Golf and Country Club in Abuja. As a young contender in an exclusionary sport (the game of golf is still largely male-dominated), Essien usually finds herself treading a lonely path but that does not seem to deter her.
“Not a lot of girls know that golf exists because they don’t really hear of famous girl golfers or women golfers that play the game”
She is determined to be a voice for enlightenment and awareness and hopes that the Nigerian government will put more effort into introducing the game to young girls and boys in the country and fund their training. Iyene was recently featured on the Mala Fund Game Changers Series spotlighting female athletes around the world who defy convention on and off the field.
Her father, a consultant economist Eyo Essien, says she is just getting started.
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.
The young prodigy says she is committed to balancing school and golf and intends to study artificial intelligence and robotics at the university.