Mistura & Wisdom Emerge Winners at 3rd Ex-Pro Diaspora U-16 Squash tournament
Mistura Durosinlorun and Wisdom Nzei emerged victorious in the U-16 girls and boys’ category at the 2019 Ex-Pro squash tournament final that ended on Saturday in Lagos.
Competing in her first U-16 final, the 12-year-old from Kwara State showed her championship calibre throughout the event as she swept past Chidinma Orji in the semi-finals to reach the title-decider.
Up against Favour Utukpe, her conqueror at Frigate U-19 National Open, Mistura produced an excellent display to notch up an 11-6, 3-11, 14-12, 11-7 victory.
It was Mistura who took the opening game as Favour showed signs of nerves in front of a capacity crowd at the Teslim Balogun stadium squash court.
Favour came back after the short break revitalized and determined, initiating most of the attacks as she comfortably won the second game 11-3.
With her dad and coach by the court side, Mistura dug deep as both players went toe-to-toe in a gripping contest, with Mistura squandering two match balls as Favour came back to force a tie-break.
But Mistura wasn’t to be denied as her next match ball met a weak drop from Favour, edging the third 14-12.
Favour looked overwhelmed in the decider, taking just two points as she went down 11-2 to Mistura.
After the match, Mistura said: ‘’I feel so happy and excited.
‘’Last time, when she defeated me, I didn’t do well. I lost concentration, but I trained harder and prepare very well.
‘’Going forward, I want to improve on my backhand and right back.
In the U-16 Boys category, Wisdom Nzei overcame Joseph Enaifoghe in a keenly contested final to cart home the top prize.
The final day presented little in terms of upset but plenty of action.
Wisdom ensured it was minimal drama in his case as he out thought the enterprising Joseph to win the opening game 11-8, only for Joseph to level the match in the second game 11-8.
However, Wisdom’s experience saw him over the line in the third, winning it 11-8.
Joseph, 15 again fought back to level scores two all, forcing a fifth game 11-7.
The decider strung along the crowd with each player battling out exhausting rallies.
From 5-0, Wisdom pulled away, but Favour regained his composure and made it 5-3.
13-years-old, Wisdom moved swiftly to make it 9-5. However, his Edo state-born opponent rallied back to tie the match nine all.
The Akwa-Ibom state, Wisdom, who won the 2018 edition U-13 boys category eventually won the title 12-10.
An elated Wisdom speaks, ‘’ ‘’I am feel great winning this tournament. Last year I competed and won the U-13 category. ‘’Moving to the U-16 category with no experience, I had to do what my coach asked me to do, so I am really happy.
Mistura also won the tournament U-13 girl title for the third time in her career courtesy of a 3-1 win over Abia’s Jennifer Madukazor.
Mistura got the better of Madukazor 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 to add the title to her win in 2017 and 2018.
Meanwhile Dominic Utukpe of Lagos state too coasted to a commanding 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 victory against Daniel Nzei of Akwa Ibom state to claim the U-13 boys title.
Chairman of Ex-pro Diaspora, Femi Shittu in a chat with dailytiz posited that the former players are indeed motivated to do more for the sport.
‘’I am feeling fantastic, because when you look at the kids and the level of skill exhibited, I must confess they are not disappointing us.
‘’We can see the difference between two years ago and where we are right now, and that’s is why we have decided to improve the knowledge of the coaches.
‘’So, next year, we will add coaching clinic to this tournament, because as the players are improving we want to also improve the knowledge and skills of the coaches as well.
‘’You can only teach people to the limit of your knowledge, as your knowledge improve, you teach them better, that is what we are going to do.
‘’This year we made it bigger and better, because we are committed to giving back. Look, when you have interest in something, you will go the extra mile to make that thing happen.
Commenting on the tournament, Nigeria’s Squash Federation President, Mr. Boye Oyerinde said: ”The level of play is encouraging, if you compare what we’ve seen at this year’s edition from two years ago, you will agree that there has been a lot of improvement and that’s what grassroots development is all about.
‘’I am delighted and quite grateful to the ex-players at home and in the diaspora for what they are doing, encouraging the children at different, it is fantastic.
A squash philanthropist, Barr. George Etomi had this to say: ‘’When I look back to how, some of this former players started their career and what they are doing now by giving back, I am very touch.
‘’I saw the games, the standard is high, the potential is there, but we need to take it a notch higher and that requires discipline and endurance. ‘’We need to train the coaches, not just coaches who train the players, but coaches who train the trainers.
‘’I think with adequate support and funding this tournament can only get better.
Mistura Durosinlorun (Kwara) BT Jennifer Madukazor (Abia)
7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8
Dominic Utukpe (Lagos) BT Daniel Nzei (Akwa Ibom)
11-6, 11-3, 11-8
Under -16 Girls
Mistura Durosinlorun (Kwara) BT Favour Utukpe(Lagos)
11-6, 3-11, 14-12, 11-7
Under -16 Boys
Wisdom Nzei BT Joseph Enaifoghe (Headwaters Academy)
11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10
Over 45 Women
Osarumwense Ogbemi (Edo) BT Sadia Akande (Ondo)
Over 45 Men
Daniel Enaholo Bt Yusuf Durosinlorun
Meanwhile, a former squash player, Daniel Enaholo donated squash
equipment to 11 enterprising youngsters.
Enaholo, who is based in the UK, said the gift is meant to
encourage and spur the kids to greater height.
Enaholo who won laurels for the country during his playing day’s
also promised to do more.
‘’I told myself growing up that if I ever get the opportunity to
make it in squash I would give back to the sport.
‘’This is just the start, which is giving them the tools to help
them reach a minimum standard.
‘’The next level would be how do we will get them to participate
at international tournament, good schools abroad or both.
‘’My main target at this particular tournament was to come see
what we have, the potential available; I must confess in mine opinion, these
kids are amazing and I think with a bit of guidance, they will be fantastic
players in the future.
‘’I hope to do more for the kids, I want to give at least 10
promising players- be it 10 boys or girls or a mix of both the necessary