February was a fantastic month for Kijan, Lijana and Colette Sultana who medalled in European junior and senior professional squash tournaments, respectively.
14-year old Kijan Sultana struck gold last weekend at the Austrian Junior Open, claiming the Boys U15 title in Vienna. Kijan won his four matches throughout the weekend, bringing home his second title in the BU15 category, thus far. Sultana started the weekend with a comfortable 3-0 win over František Procházka from the Czech Republic. In the quarter-final, Kijan proved to be too strong for Croatian top junior Jan Cerovac, winning the match 11-5, 11-7, 11-0.
Kijan’s next opponent was Yanai Ramot from Israel who was riding on confidence after beating the tournament second seed on the previous day. The semi-final match between Sultana and Ramot was a well-contended squash match with the Maltese coming through in four games 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9.
His last match of the tournament was the final against the tournament top seed Philip Georgiev from Bulgaria. The Bulgarian number one started strong, winning the first game 11-4, however Sultana fought back and won the next three games 12-10, 13-11, 11-9.
This excellent result moves the Maltese youngster up from 18th to 6th place in European rankings, with 11 months still available for him to climb even higher up the rankings in the Under 15 age group.
Kijan’s younger sister, Lijana Sultana also participated in the Austrian Junior Open. Lijana lost one and won three matches, placing 9th out of 16 competitors in the Girls U13 category. This was a great result for the youngest Sultana sibling who is only 11-years old and who was competing in her first European ranking tournament.
In the first round, Lijana did very well to win a game against Eva Klimešová from the Czech Republic, however Klimešová who is over a year older than Lijana, proved to be too strong. Sultana went on to win her next two matches comfortably against Romanian Andreea Denisa Ghiorghisor and Austrian Gastl Katharina. Lijana Sultana’s last match was a tight 5-gamer against Kristina Begeba from Ukraine. The Maltese junior played some excellent squash and fought hard to come back from 2-1 down. Sultana emerged as the winner with a final score of 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6.
The oldest Sultana sibling also saw some success of her own in February. Colette Sultana won the silver medal in the Professional Closed Satellite Event held two weeks ago in Riccione, Italy. Sultana started off her tournament with a comfortable 3-0 win against Katiuscia Grossi from Italy. Next, the Maltese Ladies National Champion faced the Italian Ladies no.1 Monica Menegozzi in the semi-final. Sultana had to play very well and came out with a 3-1 win. In the final, Colette was up against Swiss No.1 Cindy Merlo, however the Swiss Champion proved to be too strong for the Maltese. This is an extremely positive result for the 22-year old who has only just started her professional squash career. Colette looks forward to more professional success in the upcoming PSA tournaments, as well as Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in April.
Colette, Kijan and Lijana Sultana are supported by the Malta Olympic Committee under the (Youth) Elite Athlete Schemes, Sport Malta, Malta Squash and by their squash coach Bradley Hindle Deguara.