FIJI number one squash player Justin Ho is the favourite for the Lautoka Open Championship which starts at the Northern Club this evening.
Ho will face stiff competition from Romit Meghji and Marika Matanatabu in the top flight of the P Kumar Electrical/All Engineering-sponsored event.
The Bank of the South Pacific E-channels business consultant will be aiming to bounce back after losing to former Fiji champion Warren Yee during the Reginald Pal Squash Open final in Suva last week.
Ho said he needed to lift his performance following the loss to Yee, which was a wake-up call for him.
"It just shows that I need to practise harder. The sport is getting very competitive," Ho said.
"The younger players are coming up and Marika is one of them.
"It is good to see more tournaments are being staged around the country on a regular basis."
Lautoka Open co-ordinator Tarunesh Reddy said P Kumar Electrical/All Engineering had increased their sponsorship this year.
He said a total of 40 players would compete in the three-day event.
"Players from Suva have shown interest in participating in the tournament," Reddy said. "The timing is right as it is the school holidays so we expect a lot of junior members competing. We expect a high level of squash action especially in the A grade."
"Justin's loss to Yee last week will certainly fire him up. Romit a former Fiji rep is also among the top seeds.
"This year's event will be bigger and better with the increased sponsorship. There will be great prizes at stake in all the grades."
The tournament begins at 6pm.