National female number one squash player Yemisi Olatunji has said the country’s players need exposure to big competitions to catch up with Egyptian players.
Egyptians dominated the 2018 Lagos International Squash Classics at the Teslim Balogun Stadium last month with Yemisi being the only Nigerian in the semi-finals of the competition.
Yemisi, who is the 2017 Zimbabwe Squash Open champion, told our correspondent that the Egyptians have more players in the Professional Squash Association rankings than Nigerians.
She said, “The attention given to sports – especially squash – in Egypt is very different from the way we take it in Nigeria.
“Starting from the grassroots to the professional level, the players have a lot of support, while most players in Nigeria hardly get support. In the PSA, only a handful of us are in the rankings. I think four of us. The Egyptians have more than 50 players in the PSA rankings.
“For them it is easy to do so because they have the support of both the government and corporate bodies. The Egyptian players who came to Lagos are not even their top players and we saw what they did. If we have more support and exposure like them, Nigerian players can rule the world in squash.”
Yemisi added, “We train hard and do all we can but we don’t have the resources to attend at least five tournaments in a year. Some of the players who came to Lagos moved to another competition in Europe, but we will be here until when we can go for another tournament.”
The world number 208 said she is working hard to ensure that she breaks into the top 100 ranking in the world if she can get enough support to attend more competitions.
“I’m really pushing hard to play more WSA tournaments so that my ranking points can increase and I can break into the top 100. But it all depends on getting sponsorship to attend these events,” she said.