L-R: Curtis, Torrie and Perry Malik at the Lagos Squash Classics
By Aderonke Ojediran
Lagos, May 13, 2023
Some spectators were pleasantly surprised when siblings, Curtis and Perry Malik, squared up in the men’s semi-final of the 2023 Lagos International Squash Classics on Friday in Lagos.
To the delight of the spectators, Curtis defeated his younger brother, Perry, to advance to the final winning 3-0 against Martin Svec of Czech Republic, on Saturday, at the Sir Omolade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
Torrie, the third of the Malik troika, made it to the final in the women’s category beating Fathy Malik of Egypt 3-0.
But it wasn’t a coincidence that the siblings, who were born in Sussex, England, are professional squash players; they were coached and mentored by their father, Cameron.
Curtis told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that defeating his brother by 3-1 in the semi-final was tough because they practically played the same style.
“Playing with my brother in the semi-final was a really special moment, coming out to Nigeria, we had a good match today,” said Perry.
He said losing to his older brother Curtis in the semi-final was a sad one, because he had hoped that he’d make it to the final.
“It’s sad that I lost to him at the semis, perhaps if we never met I’d have a shot at making it to the final. I didn’t give away the match, I wanted to win.
“I played quite well at the start but he started playing better, but I’m happy for him,” he said.
NAN reports that all the members of the family of seven play squash, with Cameron, their father, a retired player now their coach, the Malik dynasty reigns in squash circuit.
Torrie said, “I’m the only girl, I have five brothers. Our dad was a player and now a coach, so we got on quite on time and we are better for it.
“I’m glad I made it to the final although I feel I didn’t play well enough,” she said.
When asked about their toughest encounter in the tournament, Torrie said her 3-0 match against Busayo Olatunji in the semi-final was her toughest, while Perry said his match against Kehinde Samuel in the quarter-final was his toughest.
Curtis described his quarter-final clash with the number one ranked player in Nigeria, Onaopemipo Adegoke, as his toughest.
On their perception of Nigeria since their arrival, the Malik trio told NAN that Nigerians were warm and hospitable people and they hoped to return to participate in future tournaments.
“For me the people here are so nice, super friendly, you can speak with anyone, I feel so welcome here,” Curtis said.
Curtis told NAN he hoped to have a family and have children that would love to play squash like him.
Curtis joined the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour and reached his first final in 2022.
At the start of 2022 he had reached the world’s top 100 players and won the Holmes Naden Prestbury Squash Open, the Commercial Water Solutions Grange Challenger and the Colin Payne Kent Open.
Curtis is a three-time National Junior Champion, U-19 European Team Champion, U-19 Dutch Junior Open Champion, No.1 in England throughout all junior age groups from U-13 to U-19.
Sometime in April 2023, he hit a career best world ranking (at the time) of 53. He was a member of the England team that won the 2023 European professional squash tournament.
Perry has made the top five rank in every junior age group, U-11 to U- 19, South East Regional Champion, six times County Champion and a National College Champion, 2019.
Torrie is a six-time British Junior Champion, European Team Champion U-15, No.1 in England throughout all junior age groups, U11-U19, British Junior Open Champion, 2022.
As of November 2022, Torrie was ranked number 83 in the world, she won the 2022 Czech Open, while Perry made it to the semi-final at the Boston Open in 2022.