Golf, hockey, tennis -- Nikki has done it all in sports

nikki3She dreamt of featuring in the Indian National hockey team and things were moving smoothly in the right direction until she faced an injury while practicing in one of the women’s national camps.  But perhaps destiny had something else in store for her. While her love for wearing the blue kept her away from books, the injury scare made her realize the importance of education and she started taking it seriously thereafter.

Nix, as often called by folks, completed her B.Com and furthered it with an MBA degree. But a sports freak at heart, she continued her ventures in different sports like golf, tennis, cricket, basketball at university, state and national levels and even found ample success in the track & field events. She went on creating state records in javelin discus and shot put, but it was golf which finally caught her attention and the multi-talented lady has been playing the game professionally since over the last three four years.

Having introduced into golf by her father, who was then a Colonel in the Army, Nikki Ponappa first ventured the greens when she was 14 years old. “I first went on the course when I was 14 - 15 years old with my dad who was then serving in the Indian Army. As I was passionate with hockey, Golf was the slowest game on the planet for me and figured then that this game was not that happening. So it was just for the company sake to my father that I used to freak to the golf courses,” said Nikki, informing that it was her job with ING that brought her back to the greens.

“After my MBA I got used to the corporate structure and my first job was with the advertising industry. I spent four good years in the financial sector thereafter. But it was my job with ING that brought me back to the golf course but this time it was for ‘Business on Course’,” said Nikki, adding that education is the biggest asset one can have.

“Education is the biggest asset one can have and I was fortunate to have had a supportive and encouraging family who let me learn my lessons. What I learnt in the sport field, I brought to my sales job at ING where I was a topper nationally in sales and my corporate learning is what I have also implemented in my golf journey. I played the sport for ice breaking with high net individuals, which was my clientele. I started enjoying the game. So even on finding it the slowest sport, it came back to me via a different route,” said the multi-talented golfer told ISN, who directly turned pro without playing in the amateur circuit.

What started as a part of business ventures gripped her more than other sports. Belonging to an Army background, she had an easy access to the Golf course, KGA, in Bangalore. She found golf reflective unlike other reactive sports, which was a reason enough to hold her attention to take it to another level. She turned Pro in the year 2007.

“When I first saw an article in the news paper on women's golf going professional, I thought to myself this is my chance to get into sport again. I gave up an illustrious career.  It was not easy though, as I straight away jumped into professional golf and no one wanted to sponsor. But I worked at my sponsorship with the faith that I could get it and then Wipro came along  after many presentations I had made to various companies. This is where my corporate and MBA training really helped as I had no background in golf,” reminisces Nikki.

To maintain the mental balance while playing and beat stress she has been practicing Vipassana Meditation too and is a fitness freak and her day remains incomplete without hitting the gym.

“Women’s golf in India is in great hand with WGAI and Champika Sayal, who is our tours back bone. Her passion for the game is inspiring. I have had Wipro as a sponsor from 2007 until April this year. Taylormade and Adidas are my equipment and apparel sponsors.” she added.

Apart from golf, she is also involved in an NGO in Hampi and will also be working with special kids through sports at TAMARA, an NGO in Bangalore.

“I have quit my job and I’m not running after money, so now that I’m engaged in social service I do it because one should do something for the have-nots. Also, I believe whatever you do from your heart and with a committed will, things automatically fall in place,” said the 30-year-old golfer.

Nikki Ponappa, who is playing in the Hero WPG Tour, believes that life has many things to offer and we should accept things as it comes. “My ultimate goal in life is basically to be happy, I am a slave of my heart and wear it on my sleeve,” said a philosophical Nikki.

By Akshi Aggarwal
Indian Sports News