After successfully staging a two-day coaching course in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF) is organising another two-day National Referees’ Certification Course in Lagos on March 26 to 27 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. The referees’ certification course is part of the federation’s efforts at developing the sport at grassroots level […]
In a bid to save the game of Squash from dying, players of the Squash Racket game across Nigeria and in diaspora are putting together a 3-Day U16 and U19 tournament tagged, the First Ex-Squash Pro U16 and U19 National Squash Tournament. According to the Tournament Director, Sunday Wilson Egberipou, the tournament which is slated […]
Three Nigerian players will play in today’s quarterfinal ties of the ongoing Lagos International Squash Classics just as Egypt Air has promised to offer free ticket to winner of the raffle draw taking place during the tournament.
Nigeria’s trio of Omolola Ajayi, Udeme James and Londgi Dasbak sealed their places in the last eight of the competition after winning their first round matches on Wednesday at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
To berth in the quarterfinal, James had an easy win over compatriot, Dunni Okikiola while Yemisi Olatunji fell to Slovakia’s Linda Hruzikova as she was beaten 11-7, 11-6, 11-4.
Dasbak and Ajayi gave the host – Nigeria something to cheer as they dismissed their Pakistan counterparts to berth in the last eight of the championship.
Pakistan’s Zahab Khan could not match Dasbak as the young Pakistani fell 3-0, while with just 13 minutes Ajayi bundled out Pakistan’s Neha Kamal Khan 11-1, 11-4, 11-3.
In Thursday’s quarterfinal pairing Nigeria’s Udeme James battles tournament’s number one seed, Egypt’s Heba El-Torky , Nigeria’s Dasbak will confront Netherland’s Milou Van der Heijden, while South Africa’s Cheyna Turker faces Nigeria’s Ajayi, Deon Saffery of Wales’ will battle Slovakia’s Hruzikova.
An optimistic James said she was ready to battle the Egyptian, adding that she would not be intimidated by her ranking.
“I am going to surprise her tomorrow (today) because I am in top shape for this competition because the first match was a bit easy. I will surely do all my thinking on the court because I am aware that she is the number one seeded player for this tournament. Nothing is impossible in squash,” James said.
Meanwhile The raffle draw which is meant for fans and players hold each match day and the star prize is a return ticket to Egypt courtesy Egypt Air.
Among the 10 countries including the host – Nigeria that will compete at the second edition of the Lagos International Squash Classics, England and Egypt have been seeded as the top teams in the men and women events of the tournament, which serves off on Monday November 3 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
The two nations were ranked top following the rating of their players globally.
For England, Adrian Grant will hoist Britain’s flag in Lagos while the British-born is rated 24 in the world, while Egypt’s Heba El-Torky, who is ranked 28 in the world is the top seeded female player in the tournament.
Other seeded male players apart from Grant, are Egypt’s Omar Abdel Meguid, Pakistan’s Nasir Iqbal, South Africa’s Shaun Le Roux, Egypt’s Karim Ali Fathi, Pakistan’s Farhan Zaman and his compatriot, Danish Atlas Khan as well as Wales’ Peter Creed. The only Nigerian playing from the main draw is Babatunde Ajagbe.
Egypt’s El-Torky will lead other top female from the globe to the $40,000 prize money tournament, which has the sanction of Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Women Squash Professional Association (WSA).
Qualifiers for the tournament will commence on Monday November 3 with 16 players competing for the four slots available in the main draw.
According to the Chairman, Lagos State Squash Association (LSSA), Sanya Akindele the tournament is a point hauling event with players also jostling for honours in the boys’ U-19 event.
Officials from the World Squash Federation (WSF) – Pakistan’s Tahir Khandaza will be in charge of proceedings at the tournament, while the draw for the competition has also been conducted by PSA and WSA.
The prize money in men’s category is $25,000 while the women will jostle for the $15,000 prize money at stake.
The LSSA boss described the listing of the tournament by PSA and WSA as a major stride for the country.
“This is a major stride for the development of squash in Nigeria and this is the first time any tournament has been accorded such status.
We intend to retain this status by ensuring no stone is left unturned in hosting a memorable tournament,” he said.
The number of the teams continues to swell as 10 countries including host – Nigeria has been listed for the second Lagos International Squash Classics.
England will lead the foreign legion to the six-day tournament holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos from November 3 to 8.
Top squash playing nations like Egypt, South Africa, Wales, Jordan, Pakistan, France, Slovakia, Switzerland and Netherlands will also compete for honours at the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Women Squash Association (WSA) sanctioned $40,000 prize money tournament.
For the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development, Oluseyi Whenu, the tournament received the overwhelming support of the World Squash Federation (WSF) following the success of the maiden edition.
The qualifiers will kick-start the championship on November 3 with four players joining the 12 seeded players in the main draw of the men and women events.
England’s Adrian Grant and Egypt’s Heba El-Torky, ranked 24 and 28 respectively are seeded number one in the men and women events while the only Nigerian who got automatic place in the main draw is Babatunde Ajagbe, who is ranked 186 in the world.
Chairman, Lagos State Squash Association (LSSA), Sanya Akindele, said the tournament, which is a point hauling event will also host the boys’ U-19 event with Temilolu Adegoke, Olanrewaju Pratt and Edward Bette competing with other home-based players for the title in the category.
“It is worthy to note that the draw for this year’s tournament was done by the PSA and WSA respectively and the tournament officials are WSF referees – Pakistan’s Tahir Khandaza and Zimbabwe’s Lucky Mlilo. The total prize money to be won is $40,000 with $25,000 for the men and $15,000 for the women and is mainly sponsored by the Lagos State Government and our sponsors,” Akindele said.
For the LSSA boss, the listing of the tournament by PSA and WSA is a major stride for the country. “This is a major stride for the development of squash in Nigeria and this is the first time any tournament has been accorded such status. We intend to retain this status by ensuring no stone is left unturned in hosting a memorable tournament,” he said.
Following the success of the Lagos International Squash Classics, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) has listed the tournament as one of its 201 4 World Tours.
According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PSA, Alex Gough, the last major tournament hosted by Nigeria was in 2008 and the return of the tour to Lagos would lure a lot of top class players to the competition.
“It is fantastic to see high level international competition returning to Nigeria and the enthusiasm and passion for the sport which is so evident among the tournament organisers is great to see,” said Gough.
The tournament tagged 2014 Lagos International Squash Classic is a PSA International 25, which is one the highest levels for the fourth quarter of the year in the PSA calendar.
The last PSA World Tour event to be held in Nigeria was the 2008 Africa Open won by current SquashTV presenter, Joey Barrington.
According to the Chairman, Lagos State Squash Association, Sanya Akindele, hosting the tournament would indeed improve the fortune of the game. “We’re delighted to be working together with the PSA to see top class squash return to the country and to see some of the biggest names in squash coming to Nigeria,” he said.
Akindele added: “We are very excited to be hosting the Lagos International Squash Classic in 2014 and we are looking forward to what promises to be an exciting week of competition and I hope that it will help boost the popularity of the sport within Nigeria.”
For the Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Lagos Sports Classics, Wahid Oshodi, this is an indication that the Classics has grown in international status in its first year.
“We are thrilled that the classics is getting more recognition and this was made possible following the enormous support we got and we are still getting from the sports loving Governor of Lagos and we hope that this competition will continue to improve each year. We are hoping that this year will be bigger and better in terms of organization,” Oshodi said.