An Olympic experience for young Golfers
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: Young Papua New Guinea golfers, Natalie Mok and Terence Coleman will be returning home with Olympic standard experience after completing their competition on Monday at the Youth Olympic Games.
The two athletes combined for the mixed foursomes team event which ended on Monday 15 October. The event was the last golf event for the tournament as well.
Mok and Coleman ended the first day, four-ball best score with a total gross of 75 and carried through the second day to 163 of the alternate shots round.
They ended the third and final day of competition with a total of 166 gross in the four-ball aggregate round with Mok hitting 81 and Coleman, 85. They achieved a total score of 329 in the mixed foursomes’ overall tally.
Coach, Nelson Gabriel as well as his players learnt a lot about the competition at the Olympic level.
He thanked the PNG Olympic Committee, PNG Golfing Association, the Team PNG Chef de Mission, Karo Lelai and her team for giving him the “once in a lifetime opportunity to take my two Junior Champions to the Youth Olympic Games.”
“I have seen and watched the highest end of young top ranked golfers of this world. I’ve talked to many coaches, managers and shared and gathered valuable information, and I now know how to better prepare my players to reach that level,” he said.
“The team did their best but still fell short because of so many factors; weather is the biggest factor, different grass to putt on, deep bunkers, distance measured in yards and not metres and the main one is that our two young players Natalie Mok and Terence Coleman, were up against 95 per cent of the world’s best ranked amateur players, who are so used to participating in competitions of this stature,” Gabriel said.
He also picked up points of improvement from both athletes; “Natalie needs more work on her swing to be consistent so she can apply it confidently without thinking of adjusting her swing in the middle of the round, or can play any technique. Her mental strength is Excellent!”
“Terrence seriously needs to work on his distance control and techniques; he needs to focus more. He needs to improve on it.”
The golfers had something to take away from their first Youth Olympic experience, Mok said; “I learnt that if you want to achieve something big, you have to work harder than everyone else. Keeping the team spirit alive is very important and the amount of discipline an elite athlete must have during competition as well.
“I’d like to play in higher ranked competitions in the future and I’m also aiming towards the 2019 Pacific Games.
“After seeing the talent in the other junior golfers, it pushes me to work harder on my game all the while balancing sport with my studies as well.”
Coleman also had a message for other young people playing sport: “Don’t be afraid. I came into this competition unprepared, thinking that I was nowhere near the other junior golfers’ level.
“After competing with them, I’ve realised that all I’ve seen and heard are just highlights, they make mistakes like me too.
“So in the end, everyone has great potential for success and to achieve success is just whether you believe you can or not. So it’s really important you believe in yourself.”
Taking out the medals in the mixed foursomes event was Thailand with gold, for a total score of 268, silver medallists, U.S.A with a score of 269 and bronze medal for the hosts, Argentina with a total of 273.
Mok and Coleman have four days left in Buenos Aires which they will spend experiencing the athlete and cultural activities with Team PNG’s Young Change-Maker to the Youth Olympic Games, James Leia flying back home with the rest of the team.
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