ZIMBABWE’S Bulawayo-based budding squash ace Ryan Gwinidza will be travelling to South Africa on June 23 to compete in the Schools Squash Under-16 Inter-Provincial Tournament (ITP) in East London.

BY FORTUNE MBELE

Gwinidza (12) has taken keen interest in the sport, considered a minority sport in the country, and in December made waves in the United States of America in the Under-13 age group coming out position 17 out of a draw of 124 players in the US Junior Championships.

He travelled to the US with his father Langton’s squash doubles partner, Trefor Williams, who yesterday confirmed the trip to South Africa on June 23.

Langton, who is Gwinidza’s coach and Williams are members of the Suburbs Squash Club in Bulawayo.

“He is travelling to play in the SA IPT in East London on June 23 in the Under-16 age group as he is also the Under-14 and Under-16 Zimbabwe boys champion, having won the Zimbabwe Closed championships in February,” Williams said.

This year, Gwinidza was in South Africa in April where he won the Under-16 Easterns Dunlop Open Junior Tournament in Boksburg after winning all the five matches that he played with 3-0 score lines.

He then took part in the Under-16 Western Province Open Junior Tournament in Cape Town and was number three after losing in the semi-finals but won the third place play-off.

Last month, he was runner-up in the Under-16 Eastern Province Open Junior Tournament in Port Elizabeth losing 3-0 in the final.

In August this year, Gwinidza will be in South Africa again for the South Africa Junior Open in Johannesburg and the Africa Junior Open in Cape Town.

Williams said they have set up a trust to raise funds to send him for competitions and the young Gwinidza has been accepted at Wycliffe College in the Cotswolds in the United Kingdom on scholarship.

Wycliffe College is the best squash coaching school in England and is considering a 50% scholarship for Gwinidza. Williams said they have reached out and are appealing to well-wishers locally and abroad for £20 000 to cover the squash prodigy’s annual boarding fees and other expenses if he is granted the scholarship.

Some of Gwinidza’s achievements are being the Under-Nine Matabeleland champion in 2013 when he was aged seven.

In 2014, at the age of eight, he was the national champion in the Under-13 category and travelling to South Africa in George where he won five out of his eight games in the schools inter-provincial tournament held from June 27 to July 1.

Gwinidza’s exploits continued in 2015 when as the national champion he once again travelled to Pietermaritzburg in South Africa and was position three after winning five of his eight games in the schools competition.

He was nine and playing in the Under-13 age category.

The following year, he won six of his eight matches in the same tournament, losing two to the number one and two seeds when he was aged 10.

Last year, when he was 11, Gwinidza went back to Pietermaritzburg for the same tournament and emerged champion after winning all his nine games in the Under-13 category, returned home where he was Matabeleland winner in the Men’s Second League.

He was also winner of the Zimbabwe Open Plate in August before he travelled with Williams for the US Open in December.