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The prestigious AON New Zealand Junior Squash Open takes places over the next three days in Tauranga and it’s bringing close to 200 competitors, coaches and officials to the city.
The tournament will be played at the Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre which played host to the world juniors in 2017 and will be one of the sites of the World Squash Federation Men’s Team Championship in 2021.
A number of players are on a run of success which includes the Oceania Champs and Australian Junior Championship titles over the past two weeks.
Auckland’s Gabe Yam, won Oceania U19’s then took out the Australian U19 title and is the Open boys top seed in Tauranga. He has also current PSA senior world ranking of 283. Another Aucklander, Anthony Lepper who Yam defeated to win the Oceania title is the second seed. Willz Donnelly and Temwa Chileshe round out the top four seeded players
Fifth seed is Elijah Thomas (Eden Epsom Squash Club) won the U17 boys titles at the Oceania and Australian tournaments.
In the Open girls draw Kaitlyn Watts (Manawatu) who has already played for the New Zealand women’s senior team is the junior women’s top seed. Anika Jackson from the Waikato is the second seed.
Georgia Robcke (Thames Valley, Waikato) third seed and Hawkes Bay’s Winona Jo Joyce is fourth seed with Natalie Sayes who won the Oceania U15 title and then the Australian U17 title seeded fifth.
The tournament doubles as the third and final selection tournament for world junior tournaments later this year. A high performance coach workshop for 20 top and emerging coaches is also being held in conjuction with the event.
The tournament runs from April 26 – 28 with draws from three graded divisions to Open grade. Matches start 9am on Friday with the Open finals on Sunday from 2pm.