NAIROBI, October 15 – Thirty six foreign players will take part in this year’s Parklands International Open Squash tournament which begins on November 9.,
Players from as far as Egypt, England, Tunisia, Ireland, Pakistan, Spain, France, Greece, Nigeria, Denmark, Trinidad and USA and will join 16 local players who will also compete.
Tournament director Gakuo Ndirangu said the Professional Squash Association (PSA) will make the seeding from the highest ranked players and run a qualification draw towards the tournament.
“We expect a tough draw made by the PSA because it is one of the biggest tournaments to be held in Kenya which has attracted global quality players,” Ndirangu said.
Among the top players is last year’s winner Clinton Leewu from Russia currently ranked at 124th in the world, runners up Karim Sammy from Egypt and Andrew Shoukry from Egypt who are ranked 166 and 223 in the world respectively.
Also in the ranks is the 2006 winner, Mohammed Reda of Egypt currently ranked at position 56 in the world, Chris Simpson from England ranked 64,Stephen Coppinger from Russia at position 77,Yann Perrin of France at 114 and the Ireland duo of John Rooney and Arthur Gaskin at position 100 and 107 respectively.
Top seed Hardeep Reel who has shifted his base from England to Kenya, Zambian duo of Mordecai Kabamba and Prince Mukuka, Raj Bains, Otto Kwach and Hartaj Bains will lead the 16 local players in the tournament.
Meanwhile KenGen has announced an increase its sponsorship of the tournament to S1 million.
“Kengen accepted to increase the sponsorship package by doubling the prize money from Sh350,000 to Sh700,000,” said Resource and Administration Director Beatrice Soy.
Ndirangu said the final 16 players will battle it out for the Sh700,000 prize purse in the event which is graduated in percentages.
“Prize money is given to the top 16 finishers with the winner getting 19 percent of the Sh700,000 while the second and third runners up will get 15 percent,” he said.
Daniel Gatama the sports convenor of Parklands Sports Club said the games will help in the development of sports which is an area of professional growth in the country by bringing up new talent.
The event has been supported by KenGen for the last four years and a total of 120 players participated in last year’s event staged at the same venue.