Some squash enthusiasts, on Saturday, applauded the winners and participants at the just concluded Lagos State Squash Tournament for U- 1 boys and girls and the men’s and women’s category.
In the men’s category, Onaopemipo Adegoke defeated Gabriel Olufunmilayo 3-2, in a keenly contested final that could have gone either way at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
Even though Adegoke’s racket strings got damaged twice, Onas, as he is fondly called, still won the trophy.
In other results, Busayo Olatunji defeated Udeme James 3-0 in the women’s category, while Mistura Durosinlorun won the U 1 category 3-0, Daniel Nzeh, also won the U 1 boys category 3-1.
Oluwatoyin Gafaar, the Director-General (DG) of the Lagos State Sports Commission, said that top U-1 players from the tournament would be adopted and sponsored, based on their performance at the tournament.
“It’s beautiful to watch these young talents play so passionately, I actually saw a very young player crying after she lost, this goes to show how passionate she is.
“This initiative has been ongoing in table tennis for a while now, and with what I have seen here today, we have to encourage these young talents,’’ the DG said.
Sharing the same sentiment was Boye Oyerinde, the President Nigeria Squash Federation, who told NAN that it had become imperative to build the confidence of the players by organising regular tournaments.
“As we speak, we have about 20 Professional Squash Association (PSA) recognised tournaments, we have about 15 sponsors and so we will be having regular tournaments.
“It is important that we keep these talents busy, as we all saw at the finals, we couldn’t tell who will win the match, now that’s a good squash tournament,’’ he said.
Ayo Otuyalo, the Group Managing Director of Prime Atlantic, the official sponsor of the tournament, told NAN that watching the players play was fulfilling.
“I have been playing squash for about 38 years, so it’s fulfilling watching these amazing talents play so well, we know it’s important to give them the platform to thrive.
“We want to support them, give them the exposure they need so they can be world beaters, I am impressed with these players, they still have a lot to learn though in terms of understanding the rules,’’ Otuyalo said.
Tomi Falase, the Chairman of the Lagos state Squash Association, also told NAN that organising tournaments for up and coming players and developing squash at the grassroots was the goal of the board.
“It is obvious that there are lots of talented players; we have discovered more players in this tournament and by so doing our grassroots developmental plan will be solid.
“We will keep pushing and by the time we are done, we hope to have made our mark,’’ he said. (NAN)