Her childhood dream used to be to transform a nurse. however when Lizzy Iyamu was presented to squash with the aid of elder sister and former nationwide champion Betty Omoruyi in Benin in 1979, that changed all her desires.
It took her most effective two years to make a mark in the activity – when she was once chosen to play within the junior category of the Bendel ’81 nationwide sports activities competition.
on the competition, she emerged as some of the quickest-rising possibilities within the united states of america and the national selectors focused their consideration on her.
Iyamu kept up her constant impressive performances and changed into the most important participant for the senior nationwide workforce. She was once among the high 4 and won quite a lot of home competitions, together with the celebrated Elephant Squash Open and Ondo Squash Open.
Iyamu got her big wreck when she received gold and silver for the defunct Bendel State at the 1988 nationwide sports festival in Port Harcourt.
She returned the following 12 months to cart home two gold at the Lagos ’89 national sports competition.
Following her efficiency in the Lagos video games, Iyamu used to be ranked the nationwide ladies number one player in 1990 and she or he used to be there for 15 years.
Iyamu still has fond memories of the 1990 British Open the place she represented Nigeria.
“even though I misplaced in the preliminaries, I discovered lots,” the forty eight-12 months-outdated informed our correspondent.
“It used to be my first time of enjoying in a tremendous competitors out of doors the united states of america and losing to skilled players used to be nothing to be ashamed of.”
With the expertise won at the British Open, Iyamu gained the Kenya Open girls’s singles in 1994 and reached the semifinals of the competitive Zimbabwe Open in the identical yr.
She gained bronze within the ladies’s Open in Germany in 1998 and was ranked 27th on the earth.
On the domestic scene, Iyamu persevered to battle to hold her high rating in opposition to Reginald Ogunjimi and Nelli Okojaja.
Iyamu ended her trophy-encumbered profession on a high in 2005 when she got here out of retirement after winning bronze on the Abuja 2003 All Africa games to win the Glo Squash match at the Ikoyi club, Lagos.
She is at the moment the Edo State sports Council squash instruct.
Iyamu is pleased with her achievements in the game and the global experience she gained. on the other hand, she has expressed her disappointment over the sliding fortunes of ladies squash avid gamers in the country.
The retired player is tempted to come out of retirement again to start from where she stopped.
“There has no longer been any vital development in women’s squash considering the fact that I stop the stage,” Iyamu said.
“the way things are, i will be able to come back and turn into the nationwide champion for years if I train for it.
“i’ve not seen any player in a position to achieving larger ranges. if truth be told, our ladies usually are not improving.
“Yemisi Taiwo and Dasbak Longdi are just right however they nonetheless have a protracted option to go in the recreation.
“in the event that they need to get to my level, they have to work very onerous because their fitness is suspect they usually lack skills.
“if they need to get to the top, they have to be determined and work on their weaknesses.
“Our males are doing very well and that i’m very happy with them. but I’m not satisfied that our girls are lagging in the back of.”
Iyamu, who is a nationwide referee, is tired of seeing the identical set of players at national competitions every year and says there will have to be a deliberate effort to revive squash in the u . s . a ..
She said, “we need sponsors and efforts will have to be made to lure back the businesses that made squash very popular within the u . s . in the past.
“We had nationwide competitions sponsored by using Dextra, NICON Hilton, Elephant Cement and the chief of army personnel. there have been others backed with the aid of clubs, states and folks.
“We will have to beg them to come back back. I’m chuffed that the Nigeria Squash Federation is engaged on getting sponsors for competitions. The state associations can emulate them.
“I’m bored with seeing the same players at competitions and that i believe this may increasingly alternate if there are a collection of tournaments across the us of a to discover new talents.
“we’d like squash services across the country to train the players. it’s unhappy that many of us (coaches) beg clubs to permit us use their facilities to coach our players since the ones equipped through the government either lack brand new tools or are in various states of disrepair.
“I loved taking part in squash in my time and i need the younger era to experience enjoying the sport.”
Iyamu admits women avid gamers suffered discrimination in her time and says the federation will be pardoned for its action.
“men gamers loved preferential treatment when it comes to prize money and participation at international tournaments,” she mentioned.
“i would say we were lazy and our game was gradual compared to the boys’s. The federation would prefer the men’s staff for global competitions as a result of they believed that they could win medals.
“The federation was once forced to register just a few ladies players for world championships on account of me. They believed I could make it.
“as an instance, I used to be the only woman selected to symbolize the usa for the British Open.
“There used to be discrimination in prize cash as a result of they knew individuals who will reach the final, not like the men’s class.
“We got peanuts while the lads got big money for his or her efforts. It used to be frustrating however i believe we (ladies players) didn’t do sufficient to should earn the same prize cash with the men.”
When asked about her most memorable sport, Iyamu thinks again to the semifinal healthy at Zimbabwe Open in 1994.
“I cried like a baby once I lost within the semifinal as a result of I was once excellent sufficient to reach the final,” she said.
“I performed very well and gave my opponent a good combat on the court however unfortunately, I misplaced.
“I cried and people on the venue, including Nigerian officers, have been stunned. When considered one of our officers requested why I couldn’t regulate myself, I told her that i wished to win the match.
“It was an awfully tough game and that i still have fond memories of the stumble upon. It’s unhappy that i will be able to’t needless to say the name of the girl I squared up towards now.”
Iyamu says she has no regrets over abandoning nursing for sports activities, insisting that she made the fitting decision.
She stated, “Squash has made me in style in the usa. I haven’t any regrets not learning nursing at all.
“With squash i have travelled to many international locations. more than likely I wouldn’t have gotten the chance if I had change into a nurse.
“i might were in one position and best known the place I’m working or residing. i really like the game and i want the up-and-coming gamers to revel in it.
“I’m nonetheless taking part in – although within the veterans’ categories at championships. I revel in it a lot.”
Iyamu, who’s a grandmother, will not be satisfied that her children have refused to apply in her footsteps.
She said, “My children aren’t interested in squash. My 2nd child, a woman, is a soccer referee. i’ve tried to inspire them but they aren’t . i will be able to’t force them and they’ve my strengthen in what they are doing.”
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