THE maiden edition of the Chief Servant’s Squash Open Championship, ‘Winner Takes All’ has ended in Minna, Niger state capital with Plateau state carting away the two star prizes for the male and female categories.
Jonathan Peter defeated Babatude Ajagbe of Ogun state while Dasbak Longdi defeated Charity Philibus, also from Plateau state in a fierce but keenly contested battle on the masterly of the Rackets and ball game to merge victorious in the two categories.
Speaking at the winner prize presentation/closing ceremony, the minister of sports/chairman National Sports Commission, Bolaji Abdullahi commended organizers of the championship and solicited for more support to ensure that it becomes an annual event.
The minister called on sports loving private individuals and corporate organizations to join hands with the federal government in the promotion of sports as alternative means of jobs creation, saying it is the resolve of federal government to promote grassroots sports development not only to discover hidden talents but create jobs for youths willing to take sports as a vocation.
Represented by, Mr. Gidado Caleb, the minister however challenged the Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF), the organizers of the four days event to ensure that the next championship runs alongside Age Group and Kiddies Clinics.
“It is our prayer that subsequent programmes of the NSF will run alongside Age Group and Kiddied Clinics. We want to congratulate the new Board of the Nigeria Squash Federation led by Alhaji Adamu Erena for having this very good start”.
He said, “Organizers of this championship has gone a long way to prove in practical terms their love for sports and willingness to support the federal in the sports sector by its recent reward for excellence. We call on other Sports Federations to emulate this giant stride of the NSF”.
According to the minister, “Nigeria Squash Federation has made history with the Winner Takes All award to the best male and female Squash players in Nigeria, the first of its kind in the history of Sports Federations awarding athletes”.
To avoid what could have been an open confrontation between the organizer and some players who felt short-changed, the minister advised, “It is our appeal that future competitions will witness greater awards that will also spread to others as consolation prizes”.
During the quarter finals of the four days event which took place at the Minna Sports Club, David Mark road, Jonathan Peter beat Chidi Kalu of Niger state 3-0 in a game that ended with 11/5, 11/8 and 11/1 love points.
Dasbak Longdi defeated Mary Kemi Lawani of Niger state 3-0 in a game that ended with 11/1, 11/1 and 11/3 love points, before forcing Charity Philibus also from Plateau state to a second position in the encounter.