Mohali-based 8-year-old golfer dreams of winning gold in Olympics

Playing in her first international tournament, Ojaswini shot a total of 83 (39-44) in Johannesburg to lead in the U-7 category
Mohali, India August 20, 2021: Golfer Ojaswini saraswat during the practice session at Mohali Golf Club on Thursday, August 19 2021.Photo by Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times.
Mohali, India August 20, 2021: Golfer Ojaswini saraswat during the practice session at Mohali Golf Club on Thursday, August 19 2021.Photo by Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times.
Published on Aug 23, 2021 01:10 AM IST
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By Shalini Gupta, Mohali

When Indian golfer Aditi Ashok missed the Tokyo Olympics 2020 podium by a whisker and finished fourth, many were heartbroken back home, one of them being 8-year-old Mohali-based budding golfer Ojaswini Saraswat.

Aditi Ashok might not have won a medal, but talented Ojaswini now aspires to be like her and win a medal for India at the Olympics one day. And if her coach Harmeet Kahlon is to be believed, Ojaswini of Mohali Golf Range can very well achieve that dream.

Having won 46 tournaments out of 48 she has competed in, Ojaswini is a golf prodigy by all means. Her most impressive outing was in Johannesburg when she won the U-7 title with a gross score of 83 in the US Kids Big 5 South African Open Invitational Tournament.

“Golf comes naturally to Ojaswini. She is gifted and too good for her age. Seeing her consistent winning streak in the last 3-4 years, she is a prospective medallist for India in golf in the Los Angeles 2028 and Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Asian Games in Qatar 2030 and Riyadh 2034,” says Harmeet, who is an Arjuna awardee.

Focussed on turning professional

Playing in her first international tournament, Ojaswini shot a total of 83 (39-44) in Johannesburg to lead in the U-7 category. Fondly called as Oz, Ojaswini is focused on turning professional golfer.

Harmeet feels Ojaswini should move to the United States of America and aim for top-class Ladies Professional Golf Association junior tournaments. Her mother, Rakshita Saraswat, who has played badminton at state level for Himachal Pradesh, too wants Ojaswini to play the sport at the top level.

“It was a blessing that our house was situated near the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority-run Mohali Golf Range when Ojaswini was born. When she was 3.5 years old, she started playing golf and it looked as if she knew the sport beforehand. All credit goes to coach Harmeet and GMADA official Amit Dhaka for promoting and encouraging Ojaswini. Golf is an expensive sport but with their assistance she managed well. We want to shift to the USA in the next two years for her growth,” says Ojaswini’s mother, whose six-year-old son Ojasv also plays alongside her sister.

She achieved priority status level 11 in 2019, the highest level in any US kids golf local tour, which made her represent India in category 7 and under in different world’s major tournaments. She has been invited to the Big 5 South Africa Open 2020, Australian Major 2020, European Championship 2020 along with Brazil Invitational World Championship 2020. She has won more than 40 tournaments in 2019 while playing in India’s toughest and most well-designed golf courses.

She was ranked number one in her category year 7 and under in 2019 and ranked second in albatross junior golf merit list 2019. She has also secured first position in the official qualifier for Flogas Champion of Champions Ireland 2022.

Ojaswini also looks up to India’s ace golfer Shubhankar Sharma whom she met during the Shubhankar Sharma All India Junior Invitational Series 2021 held at Forest Hills six months ago. She secured first position by 12 strokes in category E Girls (age 10 and under) with a score of 1 under par 34 with 4 pars and 3 birdies.

“Shubhankar bhaiya encouraged me and also gave me some tips. I follow him. Golf is my life and it was difficult to stay away from the sport due to Covid restrictions,” says Ojaswini, who is a student of Manav Rachna School.

Youngest member at Mohali Golf Range, Chandigarh Golf Club

She is the youngest member at Mohali Golf Range and Chandigarh Golf Club. She also qualified for FCG Callaway World Championship California, representing India in category E, however, the tournament got postponed due to the pandemic.

Ojaswini, who is seeking sponsorship, nailed top position at the Indian Golf Union Junior Feeder Tour 2021, held at Golf Club, Panchkula, with scores of 3 under in round 1 with 4 birdies and level par on day 2 with 2 birdies, to make a mark.

“She is not only shining at the sport but also working hard on her fitness. Full of confidence, she plays four hours of golf every day. She does meditation and yoga regularly. She knows that mental strength is as important as physical fitness,” adds Harmeet, who praised her for winning in category E girls in the recently conducted opening event of Bogey Sport’s India Middle-East Golf Tour, Road to Abu Dhabi, in Noida.

Ojaswini will now take part in this tournament’s next event to take place at the Chandigarh Golf Club from August 27.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021