This was the second year we had the Visa Oshwal Open. This year the tournament had a total entry of 55 entries with most of the top players participating. We had top International players such as Jordan of the United Kingdom and Ally, a top player from Tanzania participating.
We had three categories i.e. the Men’s senior category, Ladies senior category and Junior categories which were split up into 19 and under, 13 and Under and 11 and under.
We had very exiting matches in all categories such as the match between Kush Shah and Shrey Kotecha, which was a closely fought match with both juniors portraying some good potential after displaying an array of skills. Shrey however lost to Kush who eventually lost to the overall winner Shiv Malde, who proved to be a more powerful and domineering player. We had also very young players Mazaruni Khan and Lindsey Mulemia who are 11yrs and 8 yrs respectively.
The ladies event had a small entry of some of the top squash players in Kenya that included Maureen Macharia, Salimah Nimji, Violet Luchendo a veteran squash player, Elizabeth Mulwa currently the number one seed in Kenya and Khaaliqa Nimji the eventual winner of the ladies event. The most exciting match was between Maureen and Salimah where Maureen Narrowly lost to Salimah 3-2 in a closely fought match that entertained the crowd thoroughly. Khaaliqa Nimji proved too strong for all the ladies even after playing through a slight ankle injury, but her technical ability with her racket proved too much for even the number one seed Elizabeth who was much fitter but could not outrun the shots.
The men’s draw was a war zone from the second round. We still had a few near upsets in the first round, such as Giren Rajani almost losing to Amaan Khalfan, who was a debutant in a KSRA squash tournament and lost 3-2 to Giren. The Second round matches saw a couple of top players being thrashed by lower ranked players. Such as Tauseef Khan who was beaten by Otto Kwach , Joseph Munyasya who was beaten by Abubakr Chaudhry and the very skilled Hardeep Reel loosing narrowly to Jordan Hardwick in very close games even though he lost 3-0. The closest match between Billy Jusa and Hussein Hassanali was extremely emotional and explosive. Hussein narrowly lost 3-2 to Billy with both players fighting tooth and nail to outwit the other as they flew around the court blasting very hard loud shots, diving for dead balls and contesting decisions. Billy eventually lost to the number one seed James Dalidi in a white wash in preparation for the eventual tournament winner Muqtadir Nimji who also narrowly won his quarter final match against Abubakr Chaudhry after trailing 2-0 down but eventually outlasting the lean, swift and very accurate Kenyan marks man Abubakr to take the match 3-2.
Hartaj on the other side run over the comeback specialist Otto Kwach whose hopes were dashed after experiencing the effects of not playing after a long time. Otto still displayed his natural hitting abilities to take a few points from Hartaj the knee breaker but still could not match Hartaj’s pace and boasts. He set up a semifinal match with Jordan Hardwick who cruised past Leon Keya in 3-1 match. The aging Leon Keya still proved to be a very difficult player to beat, with his ability to change game plans and made Jordan think outside the box on many occasions; Jordan however maintained his ability in playing a composed British style System, of patient lengths and simple drops. Jordan however beat Hartaj 3-0 in a fast paced match to set up a final with Muqtadir Nimji who had a close shave against James Dalidi. James had come with the intent of winning and almost did so in the last game when they were 2-2 and he was leading 11- 10 in match ball but with a slight lapse of focus he lost to Muqtadir 13 -11. This was the fastest match played in the tournament for both players played in the same style of hard low drives, immaculate drops, outrageous retrievals and thunderous kills that brought the gallery screaming in awe on many occasions. Muqtadir eventually beat the seemingly fatigued Jordan 3-2 who may have hoped to have won this tournament but only managed to be runners up. It was still a worthy match to watch and many from the gallery learnt a lot from the different styles both players showcased.
The plate event was also very entertaining with the eventual winner Osman Chaudhry beating Amaan Khalfan in a close 3-1 match.
The results were as follows
Main Event – Winner – MUQTADIR NMIJ
R – U – JORDAN HARDWICK
LADIES EVENT – Winner – KHAALIQA NIMJI
R – U p – ELIZABETH MULWA
Plate Event – Winner – OSMAN CHAUDRY
R – Up – AMAAN KHALFAN
19 & Under – Winner – SHIV MALDE
R- UP – KUSH SHAH
13 & Under – Winner – AARNA MALDE
R – UP – DEELAN GUDKA
Girls – Winner – MAZARUNI KHAN
R – UP – LINDSEY MULEMIA
Gratitude goes to Oshwal Sports Complex for hosting the tournament, KSRA tournament committee headed by Sanna Anwar for organizing such a great tournament, all the players who made the tournament a success, parents who brought their juniors to play and also watch the games and all the spectators who were available to support their various players.