New faces dominate 14th Cargolux Squash Tournament

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Since 2004 when it became a regular fixture in Nigeria’s sports calendar, the Cargolux Merchant Express Squash Tournament has grown to the point that it attracts participation from contestants from all walks of life.

If previous editions attracted huge participation, the 14th edition was more phenomenal as the Lagos Country Club hosted one of Nigeria’s biggest squash championships.

This year’s tournament, which ended at the Squash Section of the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, at the weekend, saw players battling for honours in seven categories, including the Super Veterans (Closed), Veterans (Closed), Veterans (Inter-club), Men’s (Closed), Men’s (Inter-club), the U-19 Boys and U-19 Girls.

The closed competition, open only to members of the host club, set the tone for the weeklong tournament with club veterans jostling for prizes.

The event’s tempo went up several notches in the Open tournament, where invited states, as well as the big squash clubs from across Nigeria jostled for honours, beginning with the age-grade categories.

In the finals on Saturday, the duo of Rofiat Abdulazeez and Faidat Soliu of Kwara State took to the courts for a feisty battle to determine the best female squash player in the U-19 category. At the end, Abdulazeez beat Soliu to take home the top prize.

Next was the enthralling boys’ encounter between Michael John and Adegoke Onaopemipo, both from Lagos. 

The drama of a former champion, Onaopemipo willingly ceding the title to a dogged John, who though injured, did not want to give up, will go down as one of the highlights of the competition.

In the Veterans and Men’s categories, Sahid Khan (UNILAG) and Niyi Olumide, also of UNILAG won in classic styles, defeating Mike Nwabuzor (Ikoyi Club) and Dele Rafiu (Benin Club) respectively.

Olumide, who resides in the United States, was the cynosure of all eyes as he played what the fans would refer to as ‘a more refined squash.’

Olumide, the new Men’s champion went home with a deep freezer, cash awards, a trophy and a medal around his neck.

Prizes were also awarded to winners in the closed tournament, as well as third placed finishers in all the categories.

Commenting on the championship, Nigeria Squash Federation President, Oyerinde said, “To say I am impressed by what I have seen in this competition today is stating the obvious.

It is an indication that the game of squash is not only an interesting sport, but it is the fact that it has gained widespread acceptance across a broad spectrum of society. 

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