Sadiq Jiwa ’18 seems nonchalant about playing in an international golf competition this summer.
Jiwa, originally from Vancouver, is one of eight members of Kenyon’s men’s golf team and will be participating in the international Ismaili Jubilee Games in Dubai in mid-July. The Ismaili are a sect of Shiite Islam, and Jiwa will be representing the Canadian Ismaili community in the tournament. He earned the berth with his win in the Canadian Ismaili Games last summer.
“It’s a great opportunity to sort of play outside my country and represent them and sort of see what my game is at at a more international level,” Jiwa said.
Jiwa has been playing golf since age 11, but said that was a late start — many nationally ranked players in Canada begin playing between the ages of three and six. He says his parents argue about who introduced him to the sport: His mother claims it was her doing since she piqued his interest in mini golf, while his father believes it was his doing since he took Jiwa to the driving range first. “My dad will always say mini golf is not a real thing,” Jiwa said.
Jiwa said one of his most memorable experiences on the green was when he drove a hole-in-one on a 190-yard par 3 during a tournament at Bear Mountain in Victoria, British Columbia. His mother was watching him play, but not at the exact moment he drove the shot. She didn’t believe Jiwa when he told her the ball was in the hole, but, “lo and behold, it was,” he said.
In high school, Jiwa was an avid hockey player, calling himself a “big, big hockey guy.” That all changed when he was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the age of 6. After the diagnosis, Jiwa dropped his eight-year-long hockey career because he realized he could no longer play high-impact sports, and subsequently dedicated himself to golf.
“I knew that my life was going to change with [the diagnosis], and I really embraced that, especially when it comes to golf,” Jiwa said. “There are times where you just, you know, keep playing through the pain and you’re sort of able to block it out and it’s a great feeling after you finish a round.”
Despite the difficulties Jiwa has faced with his arthritis, he said he has received a great deal of support from his parents and Kenyon teammates.
“The special moments in golf are playing through that kind of adversity, with my dad by my side, with my mom cheerleading on the sides, just that feeling of accomplishment, and giving everything that I can despite everything that’s in front of me,” Jiwa said.