Osama Khalifa wins Skillman Award

Osama Khalifa, 2018 Skillman Award Winner (credit: Michael T. Bello/mtbello.com)

Osama Khalifa, a Columbia University senior, has won the 2018 College Squash Association (CSA) John Skillman Award—the most significant men’s individual honor bestowed by the organization.

The Skillman Award is named for John Skillman, the legendary Yale coach of 41 years, who compiled a 451-77 record and 16 national titles. Khalifa is the second Skillman winner from Columbia, following Ramit Tandon in 2015.

Khalifa is a three-time first Team All-American selection (the 2018 selections have yet to be made), and posted a 51-4 regular season record over his career at Columbia. In 2018, Khalifa led the Lions to the program’s first Ivy League crown, capturing the decisive win in 5-4 team victories over both Harvard and Penn. Khalifa was the 2017 college individual champion—the first national title for any Columbia player—and also reached the individual finals as a freshman in 2015.

Khalifa, a three-time Columbia captain, is praised for his team orientation and on-court demeanor: “I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find a negative word to say about his conduct on and off court,” praised Columbia head coach Jacques Swanepoel, “[Khalifa] has always placed the team ahead of himself. He is modest and gracious and I believe he sets a great example for all college athletes.”