NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – National team squash player Khaaliqa Nimji believes she has matured enough to make it to the medal bracket at this month’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
This will be her fourth time competing at the Club Games, having made her debut at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India as a 12-year-old.
“We have been training hard and I believe we have prepared well to compete against world class players. I have been training with the male players and I’ve learnt a lot…I would say I have upped my game,” Khaaliqa said.
“This time I have a chance of probably getting into the medal bracket. Obviously when I was 12 I was too young, that was more of experience and exposure. But now that I am 24, I feel I can do a lot better,” she added.
Also part of the team is Khaaliqa’s brother, Muqtadir, who is based in Birmingham.
“I think my brother Muqtadir, since he is playing in Birmingham, he is playing with the world class athletes, and he is training with them every day. So, I think his levels have gone up quite a bit,” Khaaliqa said.
Khaaliqa Nimji during a training session
She has been going through her paces at Parklands Sports Club, Nairobi under the tutelage of coach Prince Mukuka Jr.
Mukuka remains optimistic the team will put up a good show in Birmingham.
“With Muqtadir I have been following his training sessions in the UK and I can say he has improved a lot. If all works out well, he can make it to the latter stages of the tournament as is the same wish for those training in Nairobi,” Mukuka said.
The eight-time national champion further called for more competitions, locally and internationally, to provide players with as much exposure as possible.
“Players need exposure. During our time, we used to have competitions within Kenya and not just in Nairobi, but we would travel to Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret for tournaments,” he said.
Mukuka said he is proud to coach the national team and to mentor the next generation of squash players.