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‘COVID-19 has brought golfers closer’

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• Kids praying for pandemic to go away
• Plateau Junior Open Championship may hold late 2020

The raging Coronavirus pandemic may have put all sporting activities on hold across the world, but it has also brought sportsmen closer to themselves.

Since the virus, also known as COVID-19, became a worldwide scourge, all the global sporting activities have either been postponed or cancelled outright.

In Nigeria, the golf tour, which provided thrills and excitement to players and enthusiasts alike have been shelved as the nation continues battling the pandemic. One of such competitions, which draws players from across the country, is the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF) Plateau Junior Open Championship, which was supposed to hold from April 9 to 11, 2020 in Jos.

The competition, which featured more than 400 children last year, has been postponed to a later date.
Aside the Plateau Junior Open, there is the Awa Ibraheem Junior Championship, which the NGF hopes to hold in October if the situation normalises before then.

Yesterday, NGF Youth Development Officer, Emy Ekong, told The Guardian yesterday that the federation was concerned with the well-being of golfers and every Nigerian and therefore would not do anything to jeopardise the health of the people.

She said, “This COVID-19 has put everything on standstill. It has made us realise how to relate with each other, encourage ourselves under the situation and preach the safety procedures to the people.

“While we are looking forward to the time the lockdown will be eased, it has made us realise how important friends and families are.”

On the youth development competitions, Ekong said, “we have to be very careful what we do even when the lockdown is eased.

“I am quite sure the Plateau Junior Championship will hold later this year. We are hopeful that when the situation improves, we can continue with our programmes.

“However, if they lift the lockdown and the deaths continue, we will be careful because golf is a sport that brings many people together.

“Last year, more than 400 children attended the competition and they have been calling to know when it would hold.

“The thing is that the children, caddies and officials stay in hotels and carry golf kits. So, if the situation doesn’t return to normal, we may not hold it because the lives of the children are very important to us.

“The Awa Ibraheem Championship is billed for October, so, we still have time to know what the situation will be before then.”


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