Usually when a tournament shrinks in size because of last minute cancellations by competitors, the level of competition drops. But at the Sports Central Junior Open over the weekend in Richmond, B.C., things got harder for three Whitehorse players.
With Alberta juniors opting out to concentrate on this weekend’s junior nationals, tournament organizers decided to combine age groups.
That’s fine for the older players, not so good for the younger ones.
However, Whitehorse’s Mustafa Syed, an under-15 player, prevailed to take fifth in the under-19 main draw.
After losing to top-seeded Alykhan Tobahni in the opening round, Syed defeated his brother Zain 3-2 and then B.C.‘s Andrew Wei 3-1, in the consolation final for fifth place.
“It was a very interesting game and a good win for him,” said Squash Yukon head coach Khoon Chua.
The consolation final was a match-up between two of Canada’s top under-15 juniors. Mustafa is ranked 20th and Wei 12th. Mustafa lost to Wei in a Victoria tournament in February.
“Mustafa is more confident in his playing,” said Chua. “He’s talented, so I was telling him, ‘The guy is worried about you, you don’t have to be worried about him.’ When you’re confident it’s a lot different when playing squash.
“He’s fitter than in Victoria. In Victoria, when he played this guy, you could tell he was really tired towards the end.”
Though Zain went winless at the tournament, he did take a set off Canada’s third-ranked under-17 player Alexander Toth.
Whitehorse’s third competitor, Shermaine Chua, signed up for the under-17 girls’ B division but was put in the main draw because of the small amount of players. She took third out of three players.
“She put up a good fight and almost took a game each off her stronger opponents in the round robin draw,” said Khoon.
The Syed brothers will be competing at the National Junior Squash Championship this weekend in Toronto.
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