Namibian Open More Than a Competition

The Namibian Open Squash Championships held at Walvis Bay over the weekend was more than just a tournament it was also an experience for youth development and a time for international friendship. These were the sentiments shared by all participants.

There were 63 players from Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and even Australia that played it out since Friday, hoping to cash in on what has become one of the biggest prize-money squash tournaments in Southern Africa.

The tournament was played at the Buccaneers Squash Club with The Namibian being the main sponsor for the fourth consecutive year to an amount of N$120 000.

“We even had to turn people away who wanted to participate because we were full,” said Lyndsey Lottering, chairperson of Buccaneers. “It’s always been a popular event and people love coming here to the coast.”

According to her, the games were tough, and although Namibians had to compete against very g international players, they still did well in the Plate and Cup draws.

“It was not just the squash competition, but there was also an amazing atmosphere amongst all the players. It was also a social event and we made a lot of new friends,” she said.

She also emphasised the importance of experience for Namibia’s youth players, who could learn a lot from their more experienced counterparts – especially with the Namibian Junior Open Squash tournament scheduled to take place at Walvis Bay from 3 to 5 October.

“This weekend’s tournament encourages development of our youth and soon we hope to have some g players out there,” she said.

The defending men’s champion, Christo Potgieter from Potchefstroom only got fourth place this time after Jimmy Schlebush took care of him in the semi-finals. He then played against Ray Simbala, Zambia’s second seed, and also lost against him.

“It was great coming to Walvis Bay. It is my fist time here and I had some great games. I hope to be back next year,” said Simbala.

In the final, Jimmy Schlebush came up against another top South African, Michael Wood and after four tough sets, Schlebush won the match 3-1 top take the trophy.

Lauren Siddle and Milne Louw, also both from South Africa, played it out in the women’s final, with the defending champion Siddle eventually beating Louw.

Schlebusch and Siddle each received N$8 000 in prize money.

Namibian Squash Association chairman Nelson Herunga praised the players for their sportsmanship and also the international players for supporting the Namibian event with top quality performances.

He also highlighted the importance of the tournament for the development of young Namibian players.

Source : The Namibian