Top Nigerian squash player, Babatunde Ajagbe moved robustly in the current PSA Men’s World Rankings (December).

Ajagbe is the only Nigerian accelerator in the year-ending release by the squash body on Saturday.

The US-based athlete ascended from 218 to 196, meaning he returns to the top 200 for the first time since 2017.

Tunde Ajagbe in action | Top Media Nigeria
Tunde Ajagbe in action | Top Media Nigeria

Ajagbe – unseeded – reached the quarterfinal of the Alliance Fabricating Ltd. Simon Warder Memorial Prostate Cancer Open 2018 during November. At the event in Sarnia, Canada, he defeated home players, Jayden Shortt and Cameron Seth, before bowing out gallantly 3-2 to eventual champion, Shahjahan Khan of Pakistan.

Those performances have seen the 31 year old edge close to his highest career ranking of 144 this month in 2014 during the 2014 PSA World Tour.

WATCH (VIDEO) BELOW: Simon Warder Memorial Squash Tournament 2018 Men’s – Shahjahan Khan (PAK) vs Babatunde Ajagbe (NGR)

Another US-based player, Adewale Amao, who rose big in the October and November releases dropped this time around. The 28 year old has fallen eleven places to No.269.

Home-based Abdulrahaman Yusuf slipped six places to No. 273. Yusuf, who is competing at the Prime Atlantic National Squash Open Tournament (PSA National Closed Satellite Tournament) which kicks off today at the squash section of the Ikoyi Club 1938, Ikoyi, Lagos couldn’t participate in the CIB Wadi Degla Squash Tournament 2018 in Cairo, Egypt due to visa challenge.

For youngster Adegoke Onaopemipo, 19, he is ranked No. 606.

No points gained by Nigerian female duo

Meanwhile, the Olatunji sisters – Yemisi and Busayo – have not improved on the women’s world rankings.

The Olatunji sisters
The Olatunji sisters

Yemisi, who was listed to take part in the Alliance Fabricating Ltd. Simon Warder Memorial Prostate Cancer Open 2018 in Canada was ‘walked over’ versus Mexico’s Diana Garcia in Round 1. The recently crowned Nigerian Racket Sportsperson of The Year, Nigerian Sports Award 2018 is now ranked No. 195 in the world – four spots inferior to her November rating.

Nigerian PSA contingent
Nigerian PSA troop

The younger Olatunji, Busayo, fell thirteen places to 286. The top junior player is still without points.

Simon Rösner. PHOTO CREDIT: PSA World Tour

Rösner rises to No.3 in men’s rankings

On the foreign scene, Germany’s Simon Rösner has risen two places to a career-high World No.3 ranking after the PSA Men’s World Rankings for December were released.

The 31-year-old has enjoyed his greatest ever year on the PSA Tour and claimed his first Platinum title at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in January, while he followed that up with runner-up finishes at October’s U.S. Open and last month’s Qatar Classic.

Rösner’s run to the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open has enabled him to leapfrog World No.4 Tarek Momen to claim a place amongst the world’s top three, while Hong Kong Open winner Mohamed ElShorbagy tops the rankings for a 10th successive month ahead of runner-up Ali Farag.

Marwan ElShorbagy drops two spots to No.5, while Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez and New Zealand’s Paul Coll both move up a place to No.6 and No.7, respectively.

Former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, who has been ruled out until new year due to knee surgery, falls two places to No.8. Egyptian duo Karim Abdel Gawad and Mohamed Abouelghar complete the top 10.

Peru’s Diego Elias rises to No.11, switching places with India’s Saurav Ghosal, while Hong Kong’s Max Lee moves up to No.13 to trade spots with Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly.

Meanwhile, James Willstrop is on the rise as he moves up three places to No.15, overtaking compatriot Declan James to reclaim the men’s England No.1 spot.

After claiming the QSF No.1 title last month – his first title in two years – England’s Daryl Selby has enjoyed an eight-place increase to No.16, with Germany’s Raphael Kandra moving up three spots to a career-high No.17 ranking.

Egypt’s Omar Mosaad, (Declan) James and Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller round up the top 20.

Three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour has dropped out of the top 20 for the first time since September 2006. The Egyptian maverick is yet to appear on the PSA Tour this season due to injury.

PSA Men’s World Rankings Top 10 – December 2018

El Welily is new women’s world no.1

Egypt’s Raneem El Welily has become the new women’s World No.1 after the PSA Women’s World Rankings for December were released.

Raneem El Welily
Raneem El Welily. PHOTO CREDIT: PSA World Tour

El Welily who is the first female Egyptian in any sport to become World No.1 when she ended Nicol David’s record nine-year reign at World No.1 back in September 2015. She then topped the rankings for four months until surrendering the spot to England’s Laura Massaro in January 2016.

But her run to the final of the Hong Kong Open last week – coupled with a quarter-final defeat for compatriot Nour El Sherbini – means that the 29-year-old has once again claimed the coveted World No.1 spot, ending El Sherbini’s 31-month reign in the process.

“I started this season with the target of doing my best in every tournament and every match, to try and make it to as many finals as possible and hopefully maybe win a title or two,” says El Welily.

“I was lucky to have a good start to the season, but the second half of the season will definitely be very exciting. The women’s game is currently so competitive, and each girl is proving to be at her best this season.”

El Sherbini drops to No.2 ahead of compatriot Nour El Tayeb, while New Zealand’s Joelle King rises three places to No.4 after she beat El Welily in Hong Kong to win her first PSA World Tour Platinum title. France’s Camille Serme completes the top five.

Elsewhere, Sarah-Jane Perry (No.6) becomes the new England No.1, with the previous holder of that honour – Laura Massaro – tumbling three places to No.8 to record her lowest ranking since March 2011.

Nouran Gohar rises to No.7, while Wales’ Tesni Evans and England’s Alison Waters close out the top 10. Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David drops out of the top 10, falling two places to No.12.

Hong Kong’s Annie Au rises a spot to No.11, with United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy stays at No.13. England’s Victoria Lust rises two places to No.14, while India’s Joshna Chinappa falls to No.15.

Egypt’s Salma Hany (No.16), United States’ Olivia Blatchford Clyne (No.17), Hong Kong’s Joey Chan (No.18), Australia’s Donna Lobban (No.19) and Hania El Hammamy are the other players to feature in the top 20.

PSA Women’s World Rankings Top 10 – December 2018

Report By: Ridwan Adeola Yusuf

 

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