Babatunde Ajagbe, an international squash player, on Thursday said equal prize money should be attached to all categories, to end the disparity between the male an female players.

He said this against the backdrop of growth in women’s squash, compared with their male counterparts.

Ajagbe said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said by so doing, female squash players would be encouraged to put in more energy and commitment.

“This is very true and I think the best way to go about this is by making equal cash prizes for both genders, organising more tournaments for them.

“These would encourage them to train hard and improve the level of their games, and squash in general will be better for it. it’s important that women’s squash grow significantly,” he said.

On grassroots development, the former number one ranked player in the country told NAN that with more regular tournaments, squash at the grassroots would grow exponentially.

“ There are lots of positive changes in the last five years; the last and present board have done a great job in improving the level of squash in Nigeria.

“They had coaching camps and clinics, they were able to send a team to the last World Squash Team Championship in the USA in 2019 and also Malaysia in 2021, which was canceled due to Covid-19.

“In terms of development, I believe they are working towards the right path; they now have tournaments every month; these tournaments might not be a huge tournament but it’s consistent and consistency is the key to development and improvement,” he said

He announced that he would organise  for a junior national championship for U 13-U19 boys and girls, scheduled to commence from May 26 to May 29 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

“I intend to make this regular, it’s my own way of giving back to squash; I have played on several categories and I know it’s important to have regular competition to help sharpen one’s competitive skills.

“ These will also complement what the federation and association are doing, as government alone can not do it all,” the former number one ranked player said.

He also appealed for the inclusion of squash at Commonwealth Games.

“ I hope that the handlers of Nigerian Sports would consider Nigeria Sports commission would allow these players to represent them in Commonwealth Games. It is crucial for players to have international exposure,” he said.

Ajagbe is currently ranked 153 on World Professional Squash Association (NAN)

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.