THURSDAY’S CHILD: Zaire sets sights on golf career
by MARLON MADDENHe is involved in golf, karate, dance and cricket.And he also plays road tennis and football when he gets the time.Zaire Odle, nine, has been named the best golfer in Barbados for his age group and he wishes to pursue a career in that field.This Class 2W, West Terrace Primary School pupil describes himself as a sports lover.“I love sports 100 per cent. I love it that much because I am really good at it. “I won three golf tournaments and I am going for my black belt in karate in November. I had a karate tournament about two years ago and I came second,” said Zaire.He said golf came naturally for him and he really admires sports icon Tiger Woods and West Indies cricket captain Chris Gayle. Zaire added that he was trying out for his school’s cricket team. But how and when exactly did this youngster get involved in so many extracurricular activities?According to his mother, Ophelia Stephenson-Odle, Zaire started doing karate from the age of five and started playing golf from about age three.“He has been doing the others from – I can’t even say. He loved sports from the time he could walk. He has been messing around with the ball and other sports equipment from [the time] he could walk,” she said.Zaire added: “My grandfather, who teaches golf at the Sandy Lane Country Club, asked me if I wanted to play and I accepted it. “He is a good golf player too. Sometimes I play with him but he always wins and that gives me motivation to go on.”The outspoken lad said he did not enjoy karate and cricket as much as he did golf but if he had to choose just one sport, he would not be able to.“If it wasn’t cricket, golf or karate, I don’t have a clue what it would have been,” he said.His dad, David, said he is proud that his son was able to be involved in so many sporting activities and he promised to always encourage him. David described his son as “very smart and sharp”.“Words can’t say how proud I am of him. I give him a lot of support and I encourage him to be a leader. “He is very determined and he takes all that he does very seriously. He is passionate about his involvement in sports. “He always wants to win and always wants to do well,” said David.He continued: “I am involved with him in every way. The space is always created for me to be involved whether it is intentional or not. I was even told that anytime soon, he should be ready to represent Barbados in karate.”But sport is not all for the nine-year-old Rastafarian. He acknowledged that it was important to have a good education while playing sports and he believes that he could do better in his academics, although his mum thinks he is doing excellently. “I do pretty well in school but not the best at all times. I think I can do better,” Zaire said. “He averages around 80 per cent for his classes and normally gets more in mathematics,” pointed out Ophelia.Zaire also loves pizza and watching television – his favourite show is Avatar. When he is not taking part in his beloved activities he can be found talking with his friends about the shows he likes and the ones they watch. He also plays football with them. He also enjoys riding his bicycle in his Hoytes Village, Wanstead neighbourhood.David and Ophelia have two other children – Ashanti, seven, and Azania, five, whom they are also very proud of. Ashanti takes part in dancing and karate while Azania does dancing.Zaire said that, in karate, he loves sparing [the actual fight] the most and the best part of playing golf is when he gets a very good score.He was very willing to share a few golf terms and some advice for other youngsters.“A par is when you get the exact score that is put for the hole and a birdie is one less of the score that is put for the hole. So if the hole is a par four, you have to get four to get the par. If you get one less, you get a birdie and if you get two less, you get eagle,” said the young golfer. “When you have extra time, use it to practise what you like, and if you are not good at it keep trying or try another sport,” advised Zaire, who would like to attend Queen’s College.According to Ophelia, her son is already responsible. “His dad makes sure he is always there for all his training. I am extremely proud of my three children. I am proud that he is doing really well in golf. He does really well in school. “When I see karate and golf cutting into his school work, that is when I would normally cut it off . . . So I am teaching him to balance it all, and so far he is doing a pretty good job of it,” said Ophelia.