‘I played well and didn’t let him in’
By ELIZABETH BOTCHERBY – Squash Mad Correspondent
Yorkshire squash sensation Sam Todd was crowned Dunlop British Junior Open champion (BJO) for the third time as he cruised to victory in the boys’ under 17s at the University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness today.
His win represents England’s first victory in the boys’ under 17s since 2000, when fellow Yorkshireman and Pontefract team-mate – and former World no.1 – James Willstrop claimed the world’s most prestigious junior squash title.
A former champion in the under 13s (2016) and under 15s (2018), the 16-year-old controlled the match from the beginning and swiftly dispatched Malaysia’s [5/8] Ishant Shah in 26 minutes to secure the title, triumphing 11-4, 11-2, 11-2.
“I’m extremely happy,” Todd said after the match. “It’s great to get my third British Junior Open title.”
The 2019 British National champion, who didn’t drop a game in the tournament was too clinical for Shah, toying with his opponent throughout the long rallies before delivering the killer blow.
Playing with maturity and professionalism, Todd quietly executed his game plan before offering the cameras a fist pump at the end of the match, the emotion of the moment finally setting in.
Assessing his performance, Todd said: “I was very happy with the way I played. I didn’t let him get in the match and I thought I was very solid throughout. Overall, I’m just very happy.”
Today’s Dunlop British Junior Open final was Todd’s fourth in five years, and the Pontefract-native was pleased to capture the under 17s title at the second time of asking, having lost in five games to Egyptian top seed Yehia Elnawasany last year.
He said: “This time I was the number one seed so I had more pressure on me than last time and I had to make sure that I was very focused for the match.
“I didn’t let it get tense, I had a good lead throughout and did what I needed to do today.”
Report by ELIZABETH BOTCHERBY (ES). Edited by ALAN THATCHER.
Pictures by Steve Cubbins courtesy of England Squash