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Colette Sultana wins squash women’s singles Gold

The Sultana family pose with the Maltese flag after Colette Sultana (3rd left) won Gold in women's singles.

Engerer injured as Sultana takes Bronze

Malta went one-two in women’s squash on Tuesday as Colette Sultana beat sister Lijana 11-7, 11-9 in the final match of the day, keeping Gold and Silver at home.

Malta was already assured of a successful finish in women’s singles after a productive start to the day on Tuesday as both Colette and Lijana Sultana achieved early wins.

Starting was older sister Colette Sultana who played Cyprus ’Vasa Karasava Hambides in the opening fixture of the day. A strong opening set the momentum as the 27-year-old sped past the Cypriot and took the match with straight-sets 11-2,11-4 after a tactical performance which lead to her putting her name as the first finalist later on Tuesday.

In the next match of the day, Lijana Sultana faced Luxembourg’s Sandra Denis, who had denied Malta’s Johanna Rizzo earlier on Monday. Unlike Hambides, Denis made better use of her experience to give Lijana Sultana the hardest of times and the first game was the perfect example as despite a comeback to 8-8, Denis took the first game 11-8. Lijana Sultana made amends in the second game to level proceedings. A tense finale saw both players go from strength to strength but Lijana Sultana prevailed after three tiebreaks to win 8-11, 11-5, 14-12 and face her sister in the final.

Denis finished with the Bronze medal before the final game which saw both Sultana sisters forget family with eyes set upon the win. In fact, both players pushed each other throughout but Colette took the first game.

Speaking to the Times of Malta after her victory, Colette Sultana said Gold on home soil had a great effect on her.

“I’m very happy of course,” she said, “We’ve trained very hard for this tournament and the fact that it is being held here in Malta and we’ve won gold and silver is a big thing for me.”

Asked about facing her own sister in the final, she explained that factor made it harder for her to compete.

“The fact that I was playing against my sister was tough because obviously you’d want her to have success as well so that’s difficult,” she said. 

“But I think we played well and getting Gold and silver is a privilege. We feel very special to have gotten this opportunity. I’m very proud to have had family members here to support us.”

Bronze for men

In the men’s competition, Malta bowed out at the semifinal stage as both Kijan Sultana and Niall Engerer suffered straight-set defeats against Lichtenstein opposition in the later games of the morning.

Sultana, facing tournament favourite Luca Wilhelmi, played a fast match as both players went back and forth, keeping each other in check. However, mistakes at the final moments gave Wilhemi the first game. The pair continued in the same manner in the second game but another energetic rally from Wilhemi gave him the win 11-8,11-8.

Later, Engerer fell to David Meier 11-5, 11-3 after a very physical encounter. Engerer struggled to find his footing as Meier proved more technical. To make matters worse, a number of calls for rough play gave the Lichtenstein player easy points before taking the win for a guaranteed gold and Silver finish to Lichtenstein.

The Malta men were set to face each other in the Bronze medal game in the afternoon as Malta secures its first set of medals in squash. However, prior to the game, Kijan Sultana was announced the winner by default after Engerer could not start the encounter due to injury. This means that Kijan Sultana brings home Malta’s latest Bronze medal at this year’s GSSE.

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