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Amao, Olatunji are champions, as organisers plan league


SquashAfter four days of exciting matches at the Lagos International Squash Classics, Wale Amao and Yemisi Olatunji, at the weekend won the men and women titles of the 2016 Lagos International Squash Classics, which came to a thrilling end at the Teslim Balogun Stadium yesterday.

Amao and Olatunji, who were the top seeds in the men and women categories respectively, confirmed their rating, with Amao overcoming wildcard, Lanre Abdulrahman 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 to cart home the N170, 000 men’s star prize, while Olatunji pummeled Veronica Sunday 14-11, 11-4, 11-1 to claim the N90, 000 women prize money.

In the boys’ U-19 event, Temiloluwa Adegoke beat Michael John 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10, while Busayo Olatunji sealed the girls’ title after outclassing Idowu Ogunyemi 11-3, 11-2, 11-1.

For their efforts, the U-19 champions were awarded education grant by the Lagos State Sports Council (LSSC), which pledged to begin an U-19 league to grow the sports in the state.

“We are going to sit with the Lagos State Squash Association (LSSA) and they will come up with the logistics and how they want to start the u-19 league. Ours is just to create an enabling environment and also to support because it is very important that at that age we need to keep them focused.

“If the U-19 squash players know that they have a regular competition, they will stick to it and develop their talents. I am very impressed with what they did today as well as the prize-money. You can imagine if the U-19 know that in a year they will playing in six or seven competitions and they know that at the end of year, they can make decent money and other advantages of having their school fees paid, training grants and all, it will get excited and settled,” Tinubu said.

A satisfied LSSA Chairman, Sanya Akindele, commended the state government for keeping faith with the tournament, while promising that the association would continue to promote the sport across the state.

“I will like to thank the Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and the Lagos state Sports Commission under their chairman, Deji Tinubu for supporting squash in Lagos state. The Lagos international Squash Classics held in 2014 was a full PSA tournament, which we had about 40 top players from all over the world. This tournament that we concluded today is a close satellite ‎event… it is also a PSA sanctioned tournament but geared toward improving the rankings of our players so that when they go out to play international tournaments, they’ll have better seeding. Later in the year, we are going to have a full-blown international squash classics, which we expect to have better and higher seeded players. The last time, we had some top 20 players, hopefully, this year we will have some top 10 players.”

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