Ottawa, ON (December 12, 2019) — After five days and 630 high-intensity matches, the 2019 Canadian Junior Open, held at The Club at White Oaks in Niagara-on-the Lake, ON, has come to an end. The prestigious tournament joined nearly 300 athletes from around the world, who left the event with valuable international experience and many fond memories that were made on and off court.
It was a very successful event for our Canadian players, with 25 Canadians finishing in the top five of their respective age categories and making the host nation proud. Canadians acquired a total of 16 medals and claimed five out of the eight possible Gold Medals.
It was a battle between siblings in the Girls U13 championship finals, with Ocean Ma (CAN) and Spring Ma (CAN) both battling for the title. Ultimately, Ocean was crowned champion by winning 3-0 (11-6, 15-13, 11-6). It was an all Canadian podium, with Maya Askari (CAN) earning 3rd place, Keira Hickox (CAN) finishing 4th, and Rachel Dirks (CAN) ending in 5th place.
In a similar fashion, Canadians captured the top 3 spots in Boys U13. Abdullah Mahfouz (CAN) won the title over Weihan Wang (CAN) by scores of 11-3, 11-4, 11-7, having defeated a number of top players along the way. Carl Edmond-Roux (CAN) earned a bronze medal by defeating first seed, Martin Falconi (ECU) (11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8).
In Girls U15, first seed, Iman Shaheen (CAN), proved to be a fierce competitor, winning all her matches 3-0 and coasting her way into the finals. She was crowned Girls U15 champion after defeating fellow Canadian, Amal Izhar, in the finals (11-9, 11-6, 11-5). Sophie Hodges (NZL) won bronze over Grace Huang (CAN) with scores of 11-7, 13-11, 11-4.
In Boys U15, Juan Jose Torres Lara (COL) dominated his category and avoided dropping a single game for the duration of the event. He solidified his number one seeding by winning the finals against Apa Fatialofa (NZL) (11-9, 11-8, 11-5). Canadian Joseph Toth earned his 3/4 seeding by winning the bronze medal match against Ewan Harris (CAN) (3-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6).
In Girls U17, Molly Chadwick (CAN) proved her number one seeding by winning the championship final against number two seed, Sarah Cao (CAN) (11-5, 11-7, 11-7). Jana Dweek (CAN) won bronze over Niki Shemirani (IRN) (11-8, 11-5, 12-10), and Taylor Mackay (CAN) finished in 5th place.
In Boys U17, Canadian Gabriel Yun won the title over Shomari Wiltshire (GUY), who was seeded 13/16 and made a great impression on players and spectators alike at this years event by battling his way to the championship finals (4-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8). Canadian Karim Michael heads into the season on a great note, showcasing his improvement by taking out several top seeds and earning a bronze medal. It was an intense battle between Karim Michael and Amin Khan (CAN) in the 3/4 playoff, with Karim winning in a close five-setter, 13-11, 11-6, 13-15, 10-12, 11-6)
In Girls U19, Lucie Stefanoni (USA), who is only fifteen years old, proved too strong for the rest of the competition, and was crowned champion after defeating Lucia Bicknell (CAN) in the finals (11-3, 11-5, 11-5). The 3/4 playoff concluded with an intense match between Sofia Ramos (MEX) and Winona-Jo Joyce (NZL), with Winona ultimately winning the bronze medal after five close games (11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9). Canadian Sarah Khan finished 5th.
In Boys U19, Juan Sebastian Salazar Gomez (MEX) was crowned champion, having won multiple tough battles in earlier rounds, including a five-setter against the first seed. Rising Canadian star Maaz Mufti, had a successful event, finishing above his 3/4 seeding and earning a silver medal. Mitchell Khanert (CAN) finished fourth after losing a tough match to Ethan Eyles (AUS), and fellow Canadian Nikhil Ismail (CAN) finished 5th.
“The 2019 Canadian Junior Open was a great success,” said Tournament Director Matt Easingwood. “Thank you to all the players for their great sportsmanship! Thank you to Dan Wolfenden and Geoffrey Johnson from Squash Canada as well as Tournament Referee Greg van Staveren and his team of referees! Also, thanks to my team at White Oaks, especially the chefs and all the clean up staff! Special thanks also to my volunteers as well as Cindy Sachvie and Jim Boychuk and my father David Easingwood! See you all next year!
“Being part of the squash community has brought us wonderful experiences that enrich our lives. We enjoy competing with each other while encouraging each other off the court. We wish we could both play towards a higher level and always end up playing in the finals.” – Ocean and Spring Ma, Champion and Runner-up in Girls U13 at the CJO2019
“The CJO has always been a fun tournament to play in, the environment and people there, it’s all amazing! It was an absolute pleasure to play for Canada, and couldn’t be happier to represent my country. To win this for the first time, it’s amazing, I was extremely motivated to win, or at least give it my all because everyone around me was doing the same. I really enjoyed playing this tournament with everyone, and I hope to be able to come every year! — Iman Shaheen, Girls U15 Champion at the CJO2019
Special Interest Story:
In what appears to be a CJO first, Lucie Stefanoni from the United States has captured her 4th title at the Canadian Junior Open. She has now won titles in all four age categories – GU13 in 2015, GU15 in 2017, GU17 in 2018 and GU19 in 2019. And it’s important to note Lucie is just 15 years old! “I love the Canadian Junior Open and White Oaks is such a perfect place to host the event,” said Lucie Stefanoni. “There are participants from all over the world who make friends and keep coming back. The competition and sportsmanship are excellent, and the organizers and referees are all so professional and nice. I am proud to have Canadian roots through my dad, and he has always told me that I am a little bit Canadian!”