Breaking a stereotype in Nashik’s sylvan settings

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Tribal children take golf lessons at Nashik's Riverside Golf Course.

If sport is about breaking stereotypes, here is one more case study trashing the theory that golf is for the elite. A unique initiative is gaining steam at the Riverside Golf Course in Nashik’s Niphad taluka which could well see a champion emerge from these parts not far in the future. The project entails empowering tribal children from adjoining areas and has also touched children actively pursuing other disciplines like kho-kho, volleyball and football.

The brainchild of Ravindra Naik, District Sports Officer at Nashik, and Wing Commander Pradeep Bagmar (retd), the founder of Riverside, the project would have made a lot of headway but for the pandemic. The children, numbering 500-plus, were back on the greens and their schools too chipped in by ensuring the wards get to practice at least twice a week at this outlying area before the second wave swept across Maharashtra and other parts of

the country.

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Natural athleticism makes the children easy to coach, and this finds reflection in the ability to fare well in multiple sports. These might be early days, but these budding golfers need not look far for inspiration. Long distance runner Kavita Raut and rower Dattu Baban Bhokanal had defied heavy odds growing up in the vicinity of Nashik before covering themselves in glory on the international edtstage.

Photo credit: Wg Cdr Pradeep Bagmar (retd)

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