Tue Sep 26 16:33:42 CAT 2017

Young sports star celebrated for his talent

2013-06-16 16:42:13.0 | AMANDA NGUDLE |

AT THE tender age of eight, Caleb George is probably South Africa's most celebrated young sports star.

While his peers whine about fizzy drinks and meals from McDonalds, George beats their fathers silly in golf.

Caleb, sports presenter Robert Marawa and Mr South Africa, Dale Horn, are some of the 11 personalities appointed by the Gauteng department of sports, arts and recreation as sports ambassadors for the next 12 months.

The department says Caleb was chosen for his genius, inspirational story and clean image to inspire other young people his age.

When he was six, he put impressive muscle into his swing and qualified for the US Kids Golf World Championships where he played against 55 other young golfers.

Caleb, who is not yet strong enough to carry his own golf clubs, relies on his dad to carry his equipment.

When we meet him at his parents home in Northcliff, Joburg, true to most golfer's neat trait, he tries to pose for photos on his mom's lap.

"I don't want to soil my pants," he protests.

Then he refuses to be interviewed. His mom, Natalie, is quick to explain that he has his shy days.

Natalie, and her husband Denis, who used to let four-year-old Caleb tag along every time they played golf, says the game is in her son's blood.

"He started showing an interest in the game from a golfing manual, which he would study with startling concentration," she says.

When he finally warms up to us, Caleb gives us a brief display of the popular Gangnam style of dance.

Then it was time to diss Justin Bieber: "He's a girl's musician..."

Caleb's mom says he practises twice a week and goes to the gym.

"We also watch his diet without depriving him of his childhood but because he is such a good negotiator, he sometimes gets stuff he shouldn't," she says. Caleb says he would like to play against Tiger Woods one day. "I know he will be too old then and I will probably beat him."

As a parting shot he says he won't let the fame get to his head. "When that happens, you should pray and ask God to remove it from your head."

  • ngudlea@sundayworld.co.za; or Twitter @amandan777

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