Thursday, 7 September 2017

Akwa Ibom Governor, players, stakeholders hail maiden Chamberlain Squash Open

Encomiums and praises have continued to pour in for the organizers and promoters of the Chamberlain Squash Open (CSO) that took place in Lagos from August 20 to 26, 2017. 

89 players who registered for the tournament described it as a unique programme that met international standards. 

Also, dignitaries and sports stakeholders also described it as wonderful and inspiring. 

Commenting on the tournament, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom who spoke through his aide, Mr.Samuel Bassey descibed the competition as impressive.

His words: "Looking at what I saw at the finals of the competition, it was grand. So, don’t be surprised if the Governor asks you (organizers) to stage the next edition in Akwa Ibom State.

"The state is known for the promotion of sports in Nigeria and we have the best stadium in the country.

"We will give my report to His Excellency. The organizers did a good job by taking the initiative to single-handedly sponsor the maiden edition. This is good for sports development in Nigeria", he said. 

Fatai Owoseni, the former Commissioner of Police, Lagos State said the event was audacious, inspiring and worthy of robust support. 

More so, the winner of the maiden edition of CSO, Tom Ford who was flown in from the United Kingdom by the promoters to participate in the event was elated as he grabbed his trophy. 

He said: "this was a fantastic event. I'm excited to be in Nigeria. 

“The tournament has been fantastic, I think the PSA can learn a lot from the organisers on how this event has been run.  
"I look forward to helping them (organisers) make this event a PSA tournament.

“I say a big thank you to my parents for their support, they are always behind me on and off the court and I am very aware of that so it’s a real blessing”.

“Their words of encouragement motivated and inspired me greatly, Ford added. 

Mark Broekman, another Briton and semi-finalist said: ''This is my first time in Nigeria, and i must confess the hospitality has been top notch since i arrive on Tuesday.

''The organisers surprised with a birthday cake on Wednesday and i commend them for their thoughtfulness.

''The tournament was good, and i think like Tom said earlier there's a lot of positives we are taking home from this tournament.

"Nigeria Squash players are really good, at least I played three in this tournament and i lost to one in semi-finals.

''Thank you for this initiative and I hope to see you in the next edition.

Also commenting on the tournament, Yemisi Olatunji, the winner in the female category also expressed gratitude to the organisers of the event, her family and fans for the support before, during and after the competition.

 “I came into the competition hoping to win all my matches, not only did I achieve this, I also won the competition.

“I worked so hard for this event and put in everything I had to win it – it was an amazing feeling. 

‘’I also want to appreciate the organizers for putting this tournament together, thank you for supporting the development of Squash in Nigeria.

On his part, Babatunde Ajagbe said: “I was happy with the way this tournament was organized. It’s really a major boost to the development of squash in Nigeria.

"I commend the organizers for this initiative, and I hope they keep up the tempo. This tournament is an eye opener for many of the local players and I believe it will spur them to improve their game", he added. 

Udeme James, the women runner-up who came all the way from Akwa Ibom to participate said: “I’m glad I made it to the final with Yemisi.

 “The tournament was interesting, the organizers did well. This kind of event has not taken place in Nigeria for a very long time.

‘’The organization was impressive and I really enjoyed the excitement, thank you Chamberlain Squash Open", she said.

Also commenting on the event, Captain Adedayo Awobokun of Lagos State Squash Association said: "Chamberlain Squash Enterprise if I must say is the first corporate organization supporting squash development in Nigeria.

‘’They have shown others the way to go from this tournament.

In his remarks at the press conference after the closing ceremony, the President of Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF), Mr. Boye Oyerinde, thanked the sponsors for finding squash as a veritable tool for sports sponsorship and assured that they will not be disappointed with their investments in the tournament. 

He assured that the new squash board had since been reaching out to great minds to help reposition the sport.

Oyerinde said: “What Chamberlain Squash Open is doing in a nutshell is very much in line with what we are trying to do at the federation.

 “Squash is the most beautiful game in the world, though, it is not a visible sport by design.

”I say by design because, I doubt if some of us in here know if there is a squash court in this place”, he says.

‘’I want to commend them for doing this for squash development in Nigeria.

‘’Going forward, we will like to partner with them for subsequent edition and probably make it a PSA tournament, so the indigenous players can get ranked.

Also speaking at the briefing, Samuel Aminu, Secretary General, NSF said what CSO has done was to create massive awareness for squash in the country, which he said had been relegated to the background.

“I am really very thrilled today witnessing this new beginning for squash in Nigeria and I like to urge you all to join hands with the federation to revive the game and move squash to the next level.

“Chamberlain Squash has set a pace which everyone here need to emulate and he need to be commended for this initiative”, he stated.

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