RISING star Marika Matanatabu claimed his first major squash title after winning the P Kumar Electrical /All Engineering sponsored Lautoka Open Championship at the Northern Club yesterday.
The Natabua High School fifth former won the final after Fiji number one Justin Ho was forced to retire after picking up an injury.
The youngster was leading the match 2-1 before Ho threw in the towel.
Marika said winning the Lautoka Open was a big step towards his dream of becoming the Fiji number one.
He said the aim was to continue training harder.
"I'm very happy to win and I want to thank Justin for giving me a tough time and all the other competitors and especially the sponsors," Marika said.
"We are all building the sport. This is my first major win. I have met Justin in many finals previously but lost on all occasions."
"It is a big achievement. I will keep training and try and get better every day. I started playing squash seriously four years ago. I want to become the Fiji number one and want to represent the country overseas."
"My ultimate aim is to become a professional player and compete on the pro circuit circuits around the world."
Marika defeated Romit Meghji 3-0 in the semi-final while Ho beat Warren Yee 3-2 in his semi-final encounter.
Mafi Tupou won the B grade. James Shannon won the C grade while Mere Matanatabu won the D grade.