Stakeholders applaud Ex-Pro Diaspora for grassroots squash dev.

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By Aderonke Ojediran

Some stakeholders on Sunday commended the organisers of the just concluded fourth edition of the Ex-Pro Diaspora tournament for developing squash at the grassroots.

The stakeholders gave the commendation in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

The Ex-Pro Diaspora is a group of retired players based abroad who organise tournaments as a way of giving back to squash and to develop the sport at the grassroots.

Jiya Desai, a U.S.-based squash player and her father, Sam Desai, who both supported the tournament by donating some rackets and other gears, urged the organisers not to relent.

Jiya said, “The organisers have done well by organising this tournament for them, in few years time they’d be more skilful.

“The organisers have a focus and it will translate to having a tight competition at the senior level.

“Coming here and watching these players is such a beautiful sight to behold, their energy is amazing, they pick their balls no matter the distance.”

Sam shared the same view, urging the children to remain dedicated towards developing their skills by participating in tournaments regularly.

“This is our first time in Africa and seeing this bundle of talent is amazing, with regular tournament they’d be super stars.

“Nigerians are so warm, there’s a friendly face at every turn which is refreshing. It’s different from the perception we have,” Sam said.

Olayiwola Niniola, an APC chieftain, told NAN that he’d like to support the course of the organisers in order to give the children more options in life.

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“I love children, so anything to support them is what I’m out for. I’m happy to see what these ex-players have done for them, it is commendable.

“I want to adopt two players representing Ogun. I’d be responsible for the their upkeep, feeding and education; a child that wants to play an energetic sport like squash must be well fed,” he said.

Hanniel Hadison, Commandant, Custom Training School Ikeja, Lagos, also applauded the organisers for their consistency for the past four years.

“I’m proud to see these, watching them gave me goosebumps. This was how we started and there can’t be any other way to give back than to create opportunities for these children.

“I’d keep supporting them personally to the best of my ability, this is a worthy course,” he said.

Boye Oyerinde, the president, Nigeria Squash Federation, also applauded the organisers for their commitment towards the development of squash at the grassroots.

“I was thrilled with the way these youngsters displayed their skills, the energy on the court is contagious, irrespective of age.

“I commend the organisers, this will further develop squash at the grassroots and senior levels because they have started out well,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Salif Atojoko

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