Zimbabwe: COVID-19 Halts Budding Star’s Squash Career

ZIMBABWE’S squash budding star, Ryan Gwidzima, who was supposed to be furthering his career at Wycliffe College in the United Kingdom, has seen his progress being halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Gwidzima was flown home at the end of March and has been with his family since then.

The 14-year-old was in the process of completing year nine in the United Kingdom when he was forced to return home.

Wycliffe College continued to school him through e-learning, which meant he completed his first year of high school.

The player had big plans for this year, as he was scheduled to take part in the Dutch Open, as well as US Open.

Even though he stays at Suburbs Squash Club, in Bulawayo, where his father is employed, Gwidzima cannot sharpen his skills since the facility is closed.

He is making use of a neighbour’s garage to train.

“I was hoping to do the Dutch Open and the US Open, I was training and getting ready for the tournaments,” he said.

“I am just running and playing squash in the garage, I am trying by all means to do what I can.”

An update provided by the Ryan Gwidzima Trust indicated that the youngster’s future is now reliant on what will happen with Covid-19.

Those providing financial assistance for Gwidzima are not keen to send him back to the UK because of fears of the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

“His future is now dependent on what transpires with Covid-19. Wycliffe have been informed of our reluctance to send Ryan back in September, because there may be a second wave and who will look after him in a prolonged shutdown again, and what would happen if he got sick?” said the trust.

Schools in Bulawayo have been engaged, with a plan in place should Gwidzima remain in the country for a prolonged period.

Gwidzima feels the players locally will not give him the same competition he was getting at Wycliffe.

Gwidzima has been at Wycliffe College since 2018, a move which has boosted his chances of becoming a professional squash player.

Some of his achievements, since moving to UK, were winning the Under-13 boys title at the Hungarian Junior Open in October 2018 and the England Squash North West Junior Under-13 boys Championships during the same month.

His accomplishments saw him bag the 2018 Junior Sportsperson of the Year at the Annual National Sports Awards.

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