SEVENTEEN-year-old Marika Matanatabua won his first major national championship when he upset national number one Justin Ho in the final last night.
The Form Six student of Natabua High School was unbeaten in the tournament and used his first round win over Ho in Lautoka as inspiration in final of the BSP-sponsored tournament at Defence Club in Suva.
Ho won the first set 11-4 but Matanatabua bounced back to win the next two sets 11-5 and 11-6.
An exhausted Ho pulled out of the fourth set citing injury which was a result of his two-and-a-half hour semi-final win over former national champion Warren Yee which saw them play until the fifth and deciding set.
"My leg muscles just locked up mid way in the third set of the final and I knew I couldn't continue," he said.
Matanatabua dedicated his win to his family and his Lautoka squash teammates. He said he was looking forward to playing Ho until the final set.
"He (Ho) was my toughest opponent in the tournament and my win over him in the first round gave me motivation and I wanted to go till the end against him in the final, unfortunately, he got injured," he said.
Matanatabua has been playing in the A-grade competition for two years now and was bidding his time to shine.
"When I was in the first round over him (Ho) I knew I had a chance to win this tournament and I never lost sight of that goal. Now my aim to become the national number one and represent Fiji in international competitions," he said.
In the ladies competition, Natasha Roxburgh of Lautoka beat Janice Chan 3-0 in the final winning 11-7, 11-1 and 11-6.