Nigeria’s 1st ranked Squash athlete seeks sponsorship for international events
Rofiat Abdulazeez, Nigeria’s first ranked Squash player, has solicited for sponsorship to major international events to boost her progression.
Abdulazeez spoke with a correspondent in Asaba, where she won two gold medals for Kwara in the women’s singles and team events of squash at the just National Sports Festival (NSF).
She noted that despite her determination and self-development, she felt always discouraged by the situation.
“We felt at a time that since we don’t have sponsorship from the state, we didn’t want to play for the state initially, but we realised Kwara is still our state; and we don’t have any other; that we still needed to play for the state.
“We were sure of winning gold for them, which we did,” she said.
Abdulazeez, who said she had been winning gold medals for Kwara since 19th NSF in 2018 at Abuja, however called on Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq of Kwara to support her career.
“I really wish our governor is able to help. I am currently ranked 172 in the world. I will appreciate him if he can sponsor me to some international tournaments to prove to him I can do better for Nigeria generally, not Kwara state alone.
“That journey will start next year and I hope he actually help me to achieve that goal, at least to break into top 50 in the world,” said the Nigeria’s ranked player.
She explained that all tournaments she participated in for the year had been through self-sponsorship.
“We have been winning gold medals in squash for Kwara since 2018 in Abuja; same in Edo 2020.
“But this time around, I won a gold in a singles women’s event. I think it is a big achievement.
“I have been going for a lot of tournaments this year since March, which I am not actually having sponsorship, even from government.
“At least, I am still playing and I have been winning a lot of tournaments this year on the basis of playing for Kwara state; it is like a round up achievement for me to finish the year.
“My participations in those tournaments have either been a win or lose in the final; it is either a silver of gold. But most of the time, I do win the tournament.
“We have had about 11 championship this year and we have won like eight,” she said.
On the secret behind her national success, the NSF gold medalist said it had been intensive training and avoidance of side distractions.
“Distraction I am talking about is that one feels discouraged if there is a tournament, but no sponsor.
“Sometimes, you will be at a tournament, seeing your colleagues having a new racket, new kit and you are still using the same thing. That a lot causes distraction for you,” said the 400 level student of University of Ilorin.