The second edition of the Prime Atlantic Squash Open commenced with great anticipation at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos on Tuesday. This tournament not only offers a substantial N2 million prize but also presents a crucial opportunity for defending champions Onaopemipo Adegoke and Rofiat Abudulazeez to compete for valuable Professional Squash Association (PSA) ranking points.
Adegoke and Abudulazeez currently hold the top-ranking positions in the male and female categories, respectively, making their performances a focal point of interest in this prestigious event.
In the opening matches of the U-16 category, Friday Daniel displayed his skills by defeating James Awotundun 3-0, while Umar Musa secured a 3-1 victory over Lanre Yusuf in a best-of-five games contest. Yusuf Ayomide delivered an impressive 3-0 win against David Opiye, and Timilehin Oladapo advanced with a walkover against Daniel Enaifoghe. Similarly, Emmanuel Itubo and Monday Bright both benefited from walkovers against their opponents, Ibrahim Abdulhameed and Okwomaro Sean.
Onaopemipo Adegoke, who clinched the title in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2022, expressed his determination to maintain his winning streak and defend his title, while also improving his PSA ranking. He acknowledged the tough competition, saying, “I hope I can repeat my 2022 performance again this year, but I know it is not going to be easy because everybody is playing well. After winning last weekend’s tournament, my ranking moved from 180 to over 160, and I hope I can win again to continue to rise up the ranking. I’d like to applaud Lagos State for always putting together PSA ranking tournaments that help us increase our rankings. Winning cash prizes is good, but for the genuine development of squash, organising PSA-certified tournaments is the ultimate.”
Adegoke also emphasised the positive impact of regular tournaments on players’ world rankings, acknowledging that the increased opportunities to compete this year have contributed to their progress. He highlighted the significance of these developments for the sport and the athletes, especially in preparation for the 2028 Olympic Games, where squash is included among the listed events.
Sunkanmi Akere, Vice Chairman of the Lagos State Squash Association (LSSA), officially opened the tournament and encouraged the participants to maintain discipline and focus on enhancing their PSA rankings. He stressed the importance of this approach in aligning local players with their international counterparts.
Tomi Falase, Chairman of LSSA, underlined the significance of the tournament in providing a platform for young players to exhibit their talents and accumulate crucial ranking points. He noted the successful hosting of various tournaments, including the international classics that featured players from multiple countries. Falase praised the support from Prime Atlantic and called on other corporate bodies and individuals to sponsor sports events, emphasizing their role in nurturing a vibrant society and promoting youth development.
Squash enthusiasts were encouraged to attend the tournament, witness the finest squash action, and cheer for their favorite players as they compete for victory. The Prime Atlantic Squash Open promises an exciting showdown and serves as a testament to the growth and vitality of squash in Lagos and beyond.