Squashing is not presently a popular game like football in the country. But it is steadily gaining popularity in Secondary Schools, more especially when the game is loved and played by the first gentleman of the country, President Ernest Bai Koroma. Over the weekend at the Freetown Aqua Sports Club in Murray Town, three boys had emerged as winners for the Junior Squash Tournament. Ernest Massaqoi won the first position for the Under 14 category, while Hassan C Kamara won the first position for the Under 16 category. On the side of the Under 23 category, Malcolm Juana also won the first position.
The Junior Squash Tournament was organized with the main focus of catching the children when they are young. The Tournament was proudly sponsored by the Areole Insurance Company, the Global Services Construction Company, KPMG and the Tropical Environmental and Design Associates (TEDA).
According to Mr. Solomon Samba from the Aureole Insurance Company, they decide to sponsor the less known sport in the country because they believe that the whole idea is to catch them young especially when a healthy body is a healthy mind.
All the winners in the three categories were presented with some squashing items including rackets to motivate the young kids to play the game when they are young. One of the Sponsors, Mr. Leslie Nicol from the Global Services Ltd. highlight the challenges the game of squashing face in the country relating it to lack of sponsorship and the deliberate reluctance of some parents to allow their children to play the game.
Mr. Alpha Tejan-Jalloh of the Tropical Environmental Design Associates admonished the pupils to be committed to the sports and put more emphasis to their studies as both sports and education complement each other. Mr. Tejan-Jalloh also assured the coaches of their continued support to them.
Mr. Vial Decker of the KPMG commended the pupils for their high turnout and the professional and maturity they displayed during the tournament.
These three sponsors intend to support other squash competitions after the rains in other to help promote the game in the country. Mr. Nicol said they have introduced the game in various secondary schools in other to help broaden their education and knowledge.
After the distribution of prices, Mr. Swaray who is the Physical Health Education Teacher at the Sierra Leone Grammar School appealed to the pupils and gave them a consoling message to the pupils in other to enhance squashing in the country. He assured that any pupil who is interested in playing squash should contact him if there is any problem at home encountered during the strive for the game.
By next year, the sponsors plan to also sponsor many squash tournaments in the country.
Among the squash coaches who displayed professionalism are Charles Aruna, Desmond John and Bycko Sesay.