FANS who thronged Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, on Wednesday, for the Prime Atlantic squash tournament could not hide their excitement over the quality of play displayed by the players.
Number one ranked female player Rofiat Abudulazeez sent Grace Okon packing by 3-0 in a best of five matches, with fans applauding every move of the players.
Similarly, the fans cheered ceaselessly when Favour Utukpe defeated Bukunolaoluwa Ajani 3-0, and Awawu Balogun got a win in a very tough match against Jadesola Olatunji, which ended 3-2.
Taiwo Ebifemi couldn’t stand the fire power by Rebecca Anita who defeated her 3-2 to qualify for the next round.
In the U-16 girls’ category, Ishola Zainab defeated Bibiana Iyelih-Omoefe 3-0, while Esther Opiye trashed Uzwaht Ibrahim 3-0.
Mariam Taofeek defeated Leona Iyelih-Omoefe 3-0, while Khadija Durosinlorun walked over Chioma Ude.
For U-16 boys’ category, Shuaib Giwa defeated Mitchel Etuk-Udo 3-0. Joshua Daniel beat Usman Baruwa 3-0. Elisha Daniel made it to the quarter finals by defeating Ayomide Omotayo 3-0.
Some of the players also applauded the Lagos State Squash Association (LSSA) for ensuring that players’ welfare at the tournament was taken care of.
Temiloluwa Adegoke, one of the players, told NAN that he was impressed with the organisation of LSSA, applauding the organisers for ensuring that players who qualified for the round of 32 would not home empty handed.
“This is the first time Lagos State is making provision for players who make it to the round 32, which is definitely not easy to come.
“This will further encourage players to come out and play. Prior to now only the winner and three runners up are given gifts.
“The quality of the tournament is top notch, which is something I should applaud,” Adegoke said.
Grace Okon said she was proud to have played in the Prime Atlantic Squash Tournament for the first time.
“It’s a good platform for players outside Lagos State, I’ve gotten my Baptism of fire, I will train well in subsequent edition,” she said.
Olufunmilayo Gabriel, the number two ranked male player in the country also applauded the organisers. He, however, urged them to look into officiating to ensure fairness.
“I understand that even in the Professional Squash Association players are often time told to officiate but with close supervision by someone more experienced.
“There’s a likelihood that some of these match officials that are players get sentimental when their favourites are playing. But overall they’ve tried, members of the medical teams are efficient,” he said.
Reacting to Gabriel’s observation, Tournament Director, Wasiu Bello, said Gabriel was neither right nor wrong because the essence of allowing players to officiate was to groom them to understand the rudiments of the PSA.
“Officiating is one of the ways a player can truly understand squash off court; this will help them make informed decisions.
“We assign two players to officiate, they can’t both be wrong. Yes, a few human errors here and there, even experienced umpires make the wrong calls at times.
“I’m so impressed with what I’ve seen here today with the officiating, I minimise my interference so that they can be critical before taking a decision knowing fully well that I’m watching closely,” LSSA’s former Head Coach said. (NAN)
November 2, 2023 @ 8:30 GMT|