Posted On Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 09:12:45 AM
Think of a young sports prodigy and you instinctively picture a street-smart, sprightly kid with confidence oozing out of their personality.
Seventeen-year-old golfer Raksha Phadke, who recently became the only Indian junior to make the cut in her first appearance in a World Junior Championship held in San Diego, USA, portrays a totally different image. “I am a very shy and reserved person.
When I started off, I had to face tremendous hardships as it takes a great amount of self-assurance and poise to be an achiever in the tough world of sports.
Most of all, believing in myself was the hardest part. But thanks to this tournament and the subsequent victory, my confidence has increased multifold,” Raksha smiles.
A little about Raksha’s latest feat: this pretty young lady has bagged the 24th position among 144 golfers, the highest ever finish by an Indian junior. Playing at the world-renowned Torrey Pines golf course where golfing legend Tiger Woods, who happens to be her idol, won his last major (US Open in 2008) was cherry on the icing for Raksha.
“I truly love Tiger in the most platonic way possible! I wish I had his mentality when it comes to strategic planning. He is what one can truly call a ‘genius’,” she gushes, her eyes clearly shining with adulation.
Raksha’s mother herself was a tennis champion back in the day. Ask her what then, inspired her to pursue a rare sport like golf, and she quickly says, “Oh I did play tennis back in school. It was my grandfather, an avid golfer, who introduced me to this game and I was thoroughly overwhelmed by its beauty.
I was all of 10 back then and the game totally intrigued me. I knew there and then that there was no looking back!” Nevertheless, Raksha maintains that though her mother was a tennis player, she was a huge role model for her game. “Mentally, we’re very different from each other.
Mom is like my sister — assertive and full of aplomb. So her advice helps me read people better. My family is my greatest support system,” she beams.
A second year Arts student in Fergusson College, Raksha doesn’t mind having to forego some of the coveted sleepovers and movie marathons with friends to practice her golf.
“To earn something, you have to give up a little of something else,” she declares wisely. A big-time foodie and shopaholic, this multi-talented teenager also plays the piano. “I just like to have fun! In that process, if success comes along, it’s a bonus isn’t it?” she grins.