After four days of exciting matches at the Lagos International Squash Classics, winners emerged at the weekend with the Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Deji Tinubu pledging his support for the proposed U-19 squash league.
Top seeds players, Wale Amao and Yemisi Olatunji confirmed their supremacy over others after claiming the titles in the men and women’s events of the competition.
To claim the diadem in the men’s event, Amao over-powered wildcard entrant, Lanre Abdulrahman 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 to cart home the N170,000 star prize while Olatunji pummeled Veronica Sunday 14-11, 11-4, 11-1 to claim the N90, 000 prize money.
In the U-19 event, Temiloluwa Adegoke beat Michael John 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10 while Busayo Olatunji sealed the girl’s title after outclassing Idowu Ogunyemi 11-3, 11-2, 11-1.
For their efforts, the U-19 champions were awarded education grant by the LSSC.
According to LSSC Chairman, Deji Tinubu, efforts would be made to kick-start the 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. We want to encourage, we want to support. If the U-19 squash players know that they have a regular competition, they will stick to it and develop their talents,” he noted.
Tinubu was impressed with the entire arrangement for the squash classics.
“I’m 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,” he said.
Tinubu added: “For the U-19 boys and girls that we’re supporting next year in their education, they don’t need to worry about their school fees. That burden is taken care off so they can concentrate on the game and school. It’s all about encouragement and creating enabling environment and like Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has said, it’s all about keeping the youth busy and most importantly, let everyone feel the impact of government.”
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,” the LSSA chief concluded.