It is mixed fortune for Nigerian squash players according to the latest global rankings for October released on Tuesday by the world’s squash governing body, the Professional Squash Association (PSA).
Concise News reports that US-based Babatunde Ajagbe moves up 17 places to No.188 following his historic feat in the month of September when he became the first Nigerian to play in a PSA Challenger Tour final. He scooped the runner-up prize at The Kiva Club Open 2019 in the United States.
Fellow US-based athlete, Adewale Amao – inactive in top PSA competition since February – continues to fall off the radar. He is No.458 on the PSA. Same for top local player, Abdul Rahaman Yusuf, who failed to win any of the five PSA Satelite Tour that took place in Nigeria between August and September. Abdul Rahaman is presently placed No.407.
Meanwhile, Adegoke Onaopemipo of Lagos state, the current No.1 seeded senior player on the home front further leapt hugely. Recall he jumped a whopping 119 places to No.319 last time out. This time around, he sees himself at No.257. That’s a massive 181 places skipped in the space of just two months!
‘Onas’ stunning rise has been helped by his recent achievements at all of the PSA Satelite Tour events held in Nigeria lately.
Idowu Enimakure and Sodiq Taiwo are both ranked No.398; Gabriel Olufunmilayo is No.400 on the globe; while the Iguodala brothers – Desmond and Clinton are joint No.580.
In the women’s classification, long-term Nigeria squash queen, Yemisi Olatunji attained a career-best No.123, while her sister shot up 53 places to world No.175.
Olatunji Sr.’s new placement is a new national record, as no Nigerian female squash player has ever reached that height.
Both ladies dominated all the PSA Satelite events they competed in not long ago.
There is a newcomer on the Tour in Ebifemi Taiwo, who is joint No.276.
International players round-up
New Zealand’s Paul Coll has moved up a spot to a joint career-high (Men) World No.5 ranking.
Coll, 27, made a winning start to the 2019/20 season last month as he defeated Welshman Joel Makin to capture the Open de France – Nantes 2019, marking his 14th PSA trophy.
The Greymouth man, known on tour as ‘Superman’ for his incredible feats of athleticism, rises ahead of Germany’s Simon Rösner, who drops down to No.6.
Further up the rankings, back-to-back title wins at the J.P. Morgan China Open and Oracle NetSuite Open have seen Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy cut the gap between himself and World No.1 Ali Farag to 341 points.
ElShorbagy has spent 40 months atop the World Rankings during his career, but surrendered that mantle to Farag in March of this year, and has been playing catch-up ever since.
ElShorbagy defeated Farag in the final of the China Open, and followed that up by defeating World No.3 Tarek Momen in the recent Oracle NetSuite Open final. Karim Abdel Gawad, who will make his first appearance of the season at this month’s FS Investments U.S. Open, takes the other spot inside the top five.
Meanwhile, Peru’s Diego Elias moves up to a career-high No.7 ranking, and is followed by Mohamed Abouelghar at No.8 and Miguel Rodriguez at No.9. Marwan ElShorbagy ends a six month absence from the top 10 at the expense of India’s Saurav Ghosal, who drops a place to No.11.
Joel Makin and Omar Mosaad stay at No.12 and No.13, respectively, while Fares Dessouky rises a place to No.14, swapping places with Zahed Salem, who falls to No.15.
Gregoire Marche remains at No.16 and is followed by English duo Daryl Selby – who reclaims the mantle of England No.1 for the first time since September 2018 – and James Willstrop, with Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly following at No.19.
Declan James completes the top 20.
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) October 1, 2019
The PSA Women’s World Rankings will once again feature an Egyptian top three after Nour El Tayeb moved up two places to World No.3 to sit behind compatriots Raneem El Welily and Nour El Sherbini.
El Tayeb had a successful September, beating World No.1 El Welily to win the J.P. Morgan China Open title, before reaching the final of the Oracle NetSuite Open, which ultimately ended in defeat to the same opponent recently.
She moves ahead of France’s Camille Serme, who won the Open de France – Nantes 2019 last month, and British Open champion Nouran Gohar, who are the other two players to feature in the top five.
The rest of the top 10 is unchanged, with New Zealand’s Joelle King (No.6), England’s Sarah-Jane Perry (No.7), America’s Amanda Sobhy (No.8), Wales’ Tesni Evans (No.9) and Hong Kong’s Annie Au all retaining their places.
Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy moves up four places to No.11 after reaching semi-finals at both the China Open and Open de France last month, while a semi-final finish for Joshna Chinappa at the Oracle NetSuite Open is enough to send her up a spot to No.12.
Alison Waters and Victoria Lust fall two places to No.13 and No.14, respectively, while Salma Hany drops a place to No.15.
Yathreb Adel remains at No.16 ahead of Joey Chan at No.17, while Olivia Blatchford rises a spot to No.18, swapping places with Nele Gilis. Zeina Mickawy rounds off the top 20.