Par­adise Q&A:

Golfer Kris­tine Seko

Paradise - - Contents - – LISA SMYTH

Q: How old were you when you started play­ing golf?

A: I re­mem­ber own­ing my first plas­tic set of golf clubs when I was six or seven years old, but I got my first hand­i­cap when I was 11 and that’s when I started play­ing in com­pe­ti­tions.

Q: Your par­ents are both tal­ented sports­peo­ple – did they spur on your in­ter­est in golf?

A: Both mum and dad love golf, and my sis­ter, Elina, and I ba­si­cally grew up at the Madang Coun­try Club. Dad has rep­re­sented Pa­pua New Guinea in­ter­na­tion­ally, both at the Pa­cific Games and Pu­tra Cup, as has mum, who was also the women’s na­tional am­a­teur cham­pion in 1990 and 1991. I ac­tu­ally had a play-off with mum one year at the Madang Open – she’s a real com­peti­tor, she made me work for it, but she cheered so loud for me when I sunk the putt to win, even though it meant she lost.

Q: When did you get se­ri­ous about the sport?

A: Well, I ac­tu­ally first rep­re­sented PNG at the Pa­cific Games in 2007, but for squash, not golf. We won gold in the team event, and I just missed out on a medal in the in­di­vid­ual cat­e­gory. But, after I became the women’s na­tional am­a­teur cham­pion in 2012, I de­cided to just fo­cus on golf.

Q: What has been the high­light of your golf­ing ca­reer?

A: Def­i­nitely win­ning in­di­vid­ual and team gold at the Pa­cific Games in Port

Moresby in 2015 in front of fam­ily and friends.

My mum flew down from Madang and I was so proud and hum­bled, and I felt a real sense of ac­com­plish­ment. Be­ing the flag­bearer for Team PNG at the Mini Pa­cific Games in 2017 in Van­u­atu was pretty great too.

Q: Do you play golf pro­fes­sion­ally?

A: No, but I am lucky that I can fit play­ing golf around my work in de­vel­op­ment in PNG. I have worked for the UN Women and the Kokoda Ini­tia­tive, and I am cur­rently in Mel­bourne un­der the Aus­tralia Awards pro­gram study­ing a Mas­ter of In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Prac­tice at Monash Univer­sity. I have just joined the Hunt­ing­dale Golf Club here, the for­mer home of the

Aus­tralian Mas­ters, so I can keep up my train­ing be­fore I head home.

Q: What do you miss most about PNG?

A: The lo­cal food for sure – I miss my pit pit and aibika. And hang­ing out at the Royal Port Moresby Golf Club; I miss my friends and the ban­ter. But Mel­bourne is such a mul­ti­cul­tural city and I love cre­at­ing links with other in­ter­na­tional stu­dents as part of the Aus­tralia Awards pro­gram.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: I would like to be­come a se­nior pro­gram man­ager or di­rec­tor of a de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, and keep play­ing golf, of course. I would like to work with the PNG Golf As­so­ci­a­tion to pro­mote the sport to more women in the coun­try, and work with busi­ness houses to sup­port ju­nior golfers and their de­vel­op­ment. I love golf, it’s in my blood, and I wouldn’t feel like me if I wasn’t play­ing. ■

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