Five-time winner Gary Wheadon will be looking to reverse a defeat he suffered earlier this year against Rudi van Niekerk when the NMMU Madibaz Open squash championships take place at the Port Elizabeth campus from tomorrow.
The 36-year-old Wheadon, based in Milnerton in Cape Town, lost to leading PE player Van Niekerk in the Londt Park Open final and he will be aiming to make amends as he chases a sixth straight NMMU crown.
“Yes, that was good match against Rudi, depending on your point of view of course, and there is a bit of a score to settle.
“I would love to keep going at the NMMU Open to try for 10 titles in a row, but at this stage I am just taking it one year at a time.”
Tournament organiser Sarah O’Grady said Wheadon and Van Niekerk would be the favourites to contest Sunday’s final, while others in the mix included NMMU number one Jason le Roux and provincial player Sean Bailey.
Among the women, O’Grady said Lizelle Goosen would be the player to beat, with her main challengers being Jacqui Ryder, Janet Byrnes and NMMU’s Bianca Brown.
Even at the relatively advanced age of the mid-thirties, Wheadon said he was still looking forward to competing at a high level.
“Thankfully the body is holding together at this stage and I’ve had some good years recently after going through a bit of a dip between 2008 and 2011.”
Madibaz Sport squash manager Melissa Awu said the NMMU Open was a highlight on their calendar as they strived to attract a quality field for the tournament, starting tomorrow.
“We want to use this opportunity to demonstrate to the players in the tournament what we have to offer as a university.
“It also gives the NMMU players, as well as the greater PE squash fraternity, a chance to test themselves against some strong opposition.”