Squash: Podium Finishes for Maltese Juniors in Austria

Friday, March 11, 2016, 14:00

Gavin Muscat

Malta’s top junior squash players Kimberley Galea and Kijan Sultana both performed brilliantly to finish in top 3 places in the Austian Junior Open that was held during the weekend in Vienna.

Kijan Sultana, who has just turned 12, was competing in the Under 13 Boys category. In the first 2 rounds he beat Dimitriy Scherbakov (Ukraine) 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 and Czech player Farid Farrag 11-3, 11-2, 11-4.

Sultana was then up against Zoltán Jeszenszky in the quarter-final. The Hungarian looked strong in the first rounds. The Maltese junior however played superbly and gave Jeszenszky no chance at all to settle and to play his game. Sultana won the match convincingly 11-5, 11-1, 11-2.

The odds were very much stacked against Kijan Sultana in the semi-final. His opponent, Karim Farrag is the number 1 player in the Czech Republic and ranked 6th in Europe in this age group. As the match started Karim looked more powerful and took the first game 11-8. Kijan responded remarkably in the second game, tightening his game, pushing Farrag to the back of the court and then going short at the opportune time. After taking the second game 11-8, Sultana continued to play extremely well. Whenever Farrag tried to regain control, he was met with some amazing recoveries from the fast Maltese player which kept Farrag in check. Kijan managed to win the next games 11-5, 11-6 to claim a place in the coveted final.

In the final Sultana faced even stiffer opposition. Seifeldin Shams, a top player from Egypt, was too strong for the young Maltese player who fought hard, but the match ended in the Egyptian’s favour 11-5, 11-5, 11-7.

In the Under 17 Girls competition, Kimberley Galea was also in great form. She beat Denisa Rohunová (Czech Republic) 11-8, 7-11, 11-2, 11-8 and Tiana Miličević (Slovenia) 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 to also make it to the semi-final.

Galea just missed out a place in the final when she lost by the tightest of margins to second seed of the tournament, Milla Uusitalo of Finland 11-9, 11-13, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10.

In the match for third place, Kim overpowered Sara Nágy of Hungary 11-5, 12-10, 11-5.

These outstanding results are testament to the improvement that both junior players have made over the past months. Kijan Sultana’s squash development has continued to bloom at the National Sport School under the guidance of squash professional Bradley Hindle Deguara. Kimberley Galea is now based in Millfield School in England where she is honing her squash skills while studying for her A Levels.

Kijan Sultana and Kimberley Galea are also supported by the Malta Olympic Committee and Sports Malta.

Kijan Sultana(left) and Seifeldin Shams(right)

Kijan Sultana and Kimberley Galea with trophies won

 

 





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