Blessed with film star looks and an excellent game, Sharmila Nicollet is expected to take Indian women golf to a new platform. She took the plunge as a professional in 2009 and won a title the on domestic Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour. In 2010, she topped the money list and is also the current leader in 2011.
Sharmila went to the Ladies Asian Golf tour in 2010 and made the cut in Sanya Ladies Open. The Bangalore – golfer is now looking to make a breakthrough on Asian tour before making her way to Europe and further. Sharmila was the top amateur in India at the age of 15 and she represented the country at Asian Games in 2006. At 16, she had already won nine tournaments in India and then took a year off to study -- a student of psychology – and now she is making her mark as a pro.
In an interview to Swati Kapur of Indian Sports News, Sharmila talks about golf, her game and plans ahead. Excerpts:
ISN: You started your career at very early age and have already made a mark in Indian women golf? Tell us something about your journey so far?
Sharmila Nicollet: I started playing at the age of 11 and it’s been 9 years now. I have been a very sporty person. I was a state level athlete and a state level swimmer. I have also played basketball for school, done horse riding and played tennis. I think I have done all the sports. I won the first tournament at the age of 14 and it was then that decided to take golf as my carrier. I have sacrificed a lot for sports.
ISN: You desire to play for India in 2016 Olympics?
Sharmila: It’s a very big event and I dream about representing my country in the 2016 Olympics as golf has been included in the mega event. I think it’s a tough goal but I’ll like to represent India in the Olympics and I’ll go there fully prepared. When I played in the Asian Games, I was very young. But 2016 is far off and I am a better player now. I think I can make a mark in the Olympics.
ISN: You are getting lots of modelling offers; do you want to switch your carrier onto modelling or acting?
Sharmila Nicollet: I got lots of offer from modelling agencies, Bollywood, Tollywood,etc. But this is not my cup of tea. Anything related to sports, I’ll do. I am ready to do couple of shows related to golf and some high class events. But I will not stay away from golf as it is my life.
ISN: But why only golf because you were state level swimmer and an athlete and you played basketball and love horse riding as well?
Sharmila: I think I love the golf than any other game. It’s 60 per cent mental and the ambiance in which the game is played is quite good. I love nature. I mean I just love the sport. I had to give up a lot for this sport. I was a very good student and at the age of 15 my mom sent me to San Francisco University U.K of golf, scholarship from U.K. I have given up all that for this game and want to take my game to a next level. Hopefully I win the Olympic medal for my country.
ISN: Are you satisfied with your career so far?
Sharmila: I have had very good amateur record and was No 1 for a couple of years. I have won most of the tournaments in the amateur circuit. After I turned professional, I have won nine events. I think it’s a good record so far. My next aim is to play in European Tour. I am No 1 women pro in the country as of now. So it’s a great feeling.
ISN: You wrote on Face book that “music has its own meaning; takes me to another place?’ Do you love music? Do you like singing? What kind of music you love?
Sharmila: I love music. I love all genres. I am very versatile. Depending on my mood, I love rock, hip hop, all kind of music and I love to mix fashion in sport as well. I think if you look good and play good, then you feel good about yourself.
ISN: Do you like Bollywood music too?
Sharmila: No I don’t like Bollywood music; I don’t even like Indian food. I am half French half Indian. I love French style of eating and music. So I love Italian food. It’s one of my favourite cousins.
ISN: Your mother is a perfumiest. Is anyone else in sports from your family?
Sharmila: Many of my family members play golf just for fun. So think I picked it from them. They played once in a while, but then I learned from there. Well, as perfume is concerned I love perfume. Sometimes I go to my mum’s lab and mix up few chemicals. When I get the formula right, I think I’ll go to my mum’s perfume line. I love that or I go to my own fashion designing line. I love fashion myself.
ISN: Who is you biggest inspiration?
Sharmila: My mom is a biggest inspiration. Without her, I wouldn’t come so far. I love her really. She travelled with me everywhere in India. I think I am really lucky that she is my mother.
ISN: What do you love to do in your free time?
Sharmila: I practice six days a week. I love parting on weekend. I am a young girl at the end of the day. I meet my friends once a week. My hobbies are photography, car modification and just go and pick the camera and click photos. That’s what I do in my free time.
ISN: Lots of people think golf is a sport of rich people? What are your views on that?
Sharmila: Well golf is a very expensive game. Lots of travelling and all are required. I don’t think I would have been able to do at my own. It’s very tough for average and below average people to play golf without any sponsor. Thanks to my mom, I was able to do it without much hurdles. I know lot’s of player who kind of lack financial support. I think we should get little more push from the government. I mean cricket is like a religion and I hope golf would get little closer to that reputation.