Paromita Sengupta (Bengaluru)
Bengaluru-based Avani Prashanth (15) recently bested India’s top professional and amateur women golfers to qualify for the 19th Asian Games 2022 scheduled to be held in Hangzhou (China) later this year.
A natural on the greens who started to swing the club at age four, Avani is the highest ranked (#116) Indian among amateur women golfers worldwide, and the first Indian to compete in the final round of the National Women’s Amateur Championship of Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia (USA), which nurtured golf legend Tiger Woods. This teen is also among 100 prodigies selected from 68 countries to be presented the Global Child Prodigy Award 2022 in Dubai later this year.
The younger child of M.S. Prashant, a corporate executive and homemaker Surekha, Avani, a class X student of the garden city’s top-ranked Greenwood High International School (CISCE), who spent her five early years in Nigeria, attributes her success to home and school support, especially principal Aloysius D’Mello who never denied her permission to compete. “I would never have made headway in a sport I am so passionate about,” she acknowledges.
When she turned five, Avani played her first US Kids Golf Qualifying tournament at the IBB International Golf and Country club, Abuja (Nigeria) finishing on top to qualify for the US Kids Golf European Championship in Gullane (Scotland). The following year, she finished seventh in the European Championship which qualified her to compete in the US Kids Golf World Championship at Pinehurst, North Carolina (USA). Since then Avani has competed in the US Kids Golf World and Golf European championships, finishing among the Top 5 four times at the World Championships and thrice in the European Championships.
All this hasn’t come without effort. Avani invests three-four hours daily after school on the greens of the Karnataka Golf Association under the tutelage of British coach Laurence Brotheridge. She also follows a rigorous fitness regimen prescribed by strength and conditioning coach Deckline Leitao at the school gym, and abides by a strict nutrition plan.
With over 100 trophies occupying pride of place on her mantelpiece, currently Avani is practicing intensively for the Hangzhou Asian Games 2022, and working on qualifying for the Paris Olympics 2024, even as she is preparing for her CISCE class X board exam.
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