Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Walker wins individual gold title as Botswana makes Squash Debut

Botswana’s top seeded squash player, Alister Walker, came with his reputation intact as Botswana came fourth at the All Africa Senior Squash Championships held in Namibia this past week.

Walker, who is seeded 14th in the world, won the men’s individual cup title while team Botswana came fourth overall in the competition. With a lot expected from him, Walker, who is the Botswana team captain, led by example as he helped Botswana to a remarkable fourth (4th) position in the senior team’s re-entry into international senior competitions.

Facing off against Kelvin Ndhlovu of Zambia in the individual cup, the American-based Botswana player cruised to a resounding 3 ÔÇô 0 win to ensure Botswana has something to bring home from the championships.

In his game against the Zambian, Walker closely edged off Ndhlovu 12 ÔÇô 10 in the first set. He, however, easily saw off the Zambian top seed in the next two sets as he beat him 11 ÔÇô 4 and 11 -2 to win the coveted prize.

In what will be remembered as a case of firsts for Botswana, Walker, in his first outing for the country of his birth, won his first continental title and in the process won Botswana its first ever gold in the Squash international arena. En route to his final game against Ndhlovu, Walker had easily brushed off Nigeria’s Jonathan Peters 3 ÔÇô 0 in the quarter finals before easily beating South Africa’s Christo Potgieter by the same margin in the semifinals.

In an amazing run at the games, Walker came from the games having not lost a single game.

Meanwhile, the Botswana team put in a valiant effort as they came 4th at the championships. After coming second to South Africa in the team’s Pool A games, Botswana then lost to 2 ÔÇô 0 to Pool B winners Zambia A team in the semi finals as Zambia’s Sharon Chifwembe beat Leungo Mothlabane before Mwinge Lengwe beat Legotla Mosope to ensure the Zambians meet South Africa in the finals.

Botswana will then go on to lose their bid for the bronze medal after they lost to South Africa B team.

While Walker beat off South Africa’s Michael Wood to set Botswana on the road to a bronze, fellow players Lady Leburu and Mosope lost their next two games to their South African competitors, thus relegating Botswana to fourth spot overall.

South Africa, on the other hand, was the eventual winner, winning gold and bronze in the team events while Zambia came second with a silver medal after losing to South Africa in the finals.


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