Leading athletes are inspired to become top in their sport, but one Russian golf prodigy has used his talent for very different ends – tracing his long-lost brother and sister.
He might have a smoother swing, but from the outside Nikolay looks no different to the pampered junior players in this hyper-exclusive Moscow golf club. But this could not be further from the truth.
Nikolay Kovalevskiy was an 11-year-old orphan when he was adopted by an American family.
“You can never say orphanage life is easy. There they make you feel like you are nothing. So when I came over I had a lot of problems emotionally,” Nikolay Kovalevskiy told RT.
“He is an incredible young man, someone who has taken on so many challenges in his life he has managed to overcome,” said Chris White, Nikolay’s adoptive father.
Then came the golf.
“One day I just saw my dad swinging a golf club in our backyard. I think I was seven at the time. I had no idea what it was. I just thought it was a piece of metal. So, I asked him what it was. He told me it was golf. And then he asked me if I wanted to hit it, and I hit it straight from the first ball. He said – alright, you are playing golf,” recalled Nikolay.
Despite making headway in the sport, there was one thing Nikolay could not get over. When he moved to the United States, he was separated from his younger sister and brother, and lost track of them.
He rejected several sports scholarship offers at top US colleges in order to play for the Russian national golf team so he could search for his siblings. Then this year during a top junior tournament something happened.
“My whole life I was searching for her with my dad. And we have paid a lot of money to different companies to try to find her, and then I met a family out of nowhere and they found her in less than two weeks. To me I never thought I’d see her again,” explained Nikolay.
Nikolay’s sister, Anastasia was never adopted. She is about to graduate from a school in a small town in Southern Russia.
“When I heard about my brother, I thought it was a prank my friend played on me. I do not remember much of him, but we are going to become close again,” hopes Anastasiya Kovalevskaya.
“I am going to buy her a computer, so that we can talk to each other all the time, so that we never lose touch again,” said Nikolay.
Back in Moscow, Nikolay has won the prestigious Faldo Series tournament and will compete against Europe’s top young players later this year. But he says now his priority is finding his brother.
One can only wish Nikolay the best in his dream to become a professional golfer. But with what he has already had to overcome, whatever happens next he is already a winner.