France, Egypt and 13 other countries are billed to participate in the 2018 Lagos International Squash Classics, a world ranking event that will enable players to amass points, the organisers said on Friday.
The competition is scheduled to hold between March 19 and March 24 at Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
The Classics are a Professional Squash Association (PSA) listed tournament organised by the Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF) and sponsored by the Lagos State Government.
The president of NSF, Boye Oyerinde, said that the event would afford the players to amass points for their global rating.
“The Lagos International Squash Classics returned to the Professional Squash Association (PSA) listing following the impressive staging of the last two editions by the Lagos State Government.
“Being a ranking tournament, it will assist players to improve on their world rankings,” Oyerinde said.
He said Egyptian players dominated the list of competitors that signed up for the 20,000 dollars prize money tournament.
“Apart from France and Egypt, other nations listed for the six-day tournament are England, Germany, Switzerland and Portugal.
“Others are Ireland, Iraq, South Africa, Belgium, U.S., Pakistan, India and Czech Republic and host Nigeria,” Ayorinde said.
He said that 12 male players had been listed in the main draws, while the only Nigerian among those that would begin their campaign from the first round is Tunde Ajagbe.
“Five Nigerian male players are expected to feature in the tournament with Ajagbe starting his campaign from the main draws.
“Four other Nigerian led by national number one — Sodiq Taiwo — will hope to get their passage to the main draws through the two-day qualifying rounds,” he said.
The NSF president said that Yemisi Olatunji was the only Nigerian that would start playing from the main draws among the six female players listed.
“Other Nigerian female players will aim for places in the main draws through the qualifying rounds,” he said.
In the men’s category, winners will share 15,000 dollars, while the women will be aiming for the 5,000 dollars purse.
Ayorinde said that with the foreigners most times dominating the men’s event, local players were eager to turn the tide in this edition.
“Our players have been training for a while getting ready for the tournament. They are determined to claim the title this year,” he said.