The 2nd edition of the KSRA Nyanza Open squash tournament took place on the 23-24th of September 2017 at Nyanza Club. It was a real eye opener to the Nyanza and Western region players who really learnt a lot from the visiting players and the Legends squash players from Kisumu who have now resorted to playing strictly social. We were treated to a revamped state of the art Squash court that will sure enjoy international tournaments in the near future.
The nostalgic event was organized by Nyanza Club Squash committee members Nishma Karia (Captain)and Alkarim Mitha in conjunction with the KSRA committee members. It was graced by the Legendary Ramesh Karia and Divyesh Chotai who reminded us of the super days when they were the top players in Kenya and wished to get world champions from Kisumu once again.
We were surprised by some of their local players who caused upsets and near upsets from time to time. Players such as Chirag Bhayani and Bhavya Shah. Chirag managed to upset Jimmy Sohail and later lost to Leon Keya in the Semi Finals. Bhavya nearly upset the Top seed James Dalidi who had to apply some experience to go through to the finals. There was a huge contingent from Kisumu which was very encouraging, which made it even much more entertaining because most players were accompanied by a fan base.
The finals between James Dalidi (Kenya Number one seed) and Leon Keya (Kenya number 3) was witnessed by a full capacity crowd who were not disappointed. The match was occasioned by very long rallies played by the two experienced players. The first game saw Dalidi take the game easily at 11-3, but Leon Came back more invigorated in the second game and with a different strategy. He was Leading 6-2 in a couple of minutes, but Dalidi (a.k.a Le General) showed who is fitter. The game went to the wire at 10- all with the general winning it 12-10. At this point you could see Leon perplexed and considering early retirement, since the general took all the attacks from Leon and it started proving to be a game of fitness. The third game was a tactical combination of wit, fitness and skill set from both players with Leon taking a few quick points through spectacular drops, switches and Lobs in the early moments, but his lungs couldn’t handle the ever present, never say die and fitness punditry of the general who finally took the match at 16-14. All in all the participants really enjoyed the match and wished it could go on.
The ladies match was won by the Kenya number one seed Elizabeth Mulwa who beat a Surprise entrant from Kisumu Nishma Karia. It was a well fought match with Nishma from Kisumu promising revenge in the near future.
For the first time we had an exhibition match pitching the best lady player and the best male player from Kisumu, who were voted by the participants. These were Elizabeth Mulwa from Nairobi and Bhavya Shah from Kisumu. This was a very competitive match with Bhavya losing to Elizabeth 2-1 in a closely contested match. We also had a third and fourth playoff between the semi-finalists.
The Nyanza Open squash tournament has hopefully presented an observation of Kisumu being a sleeping giant in terms of the potential occurrence of Kenya champions in squash. The Nyanza club committee together with KSRA will come up with programs for the region to see this vision of a national champion coming from the region, actualized.
The Prize giving ceremony was graced by the Chairman of Nyanza club, Mr. Mitch Menzes, the Club secretary Mr Albert Ojonyo the Legends Mr. Ramesh Karia, Divyesh Chotai, Mr. James Mctough and the Virdi family, represented by Koni Virdi who donated a rotating cup which will have the winners name engraved on the cup. They all promised to support the squash growth in Nyanza Province and Kenya as a whole and are looking forward to more activities in the much improved Nyanza Club squash courts.
Below are the winners and awards
Men Category: Winner – James Dalidi
Runners up – Leon Keya
Ladies Category: Winner – Elizabeth Mulwa
Runners up: Nishma karia
3rd Bhavya Shah.
4th Chirag Bhayani
Most promising players were Nishma Karia and Bhavya Shah
Our sincere gratitude goes to the Nyanza Club committee led by Mitch Menzes the chairman and squash team led by Nishma Karia and Alkarim Mitha, and the KSRA team that helped organize the tournament led by Jimmy Sohail, Elizabeth Mulwa and the ever most organized Sanaa Anwar. Lastly our gratitude goes to all the players and participants from Nairobi and Kisumu.