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Shelley Kitchen leaves enduring legacy at Squash New Zealand

Commonwealth Games medal winner and Squash New Zealand High Performance Manager Shelley Kitchen is calling time on her career with Squash New Zealand (SNZ).

Kitchen has been involved in the SNZ High Performance Programme since 2014, first as a coach before taking on the HP Manager position in 2016.

The role saw her assume overall leadership for the off-court management of the SNZ High Performance Programme including frameworks for HP coaches, elite senior and junior athletes, and the infrastructure that supports the HP programme. 

"Shelley brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role and has been instrumental in our international success over this period,” said Squash NZ Chief Executive Martin Dowson.

“We can’t thank Shelley enough for her contribution. She should be immensely proud of the achievements in the HP programme, including two best ever Commonwealth Games and the support she led given to Paul Coll and Joelle King.”

“Shelley brought a huge amount of mana to the role and has done fantastic work which has made a real difference to athletes and the sport. She leaves our high performance programme in a very good place.”

Kitchen says she will think back fondly on her time in the role and plans to remain connected to the sport.

“I have enjoyed my time at Squash NZ and have really valued the opportunities that have been offered to me. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to lead programs and work with talented athletes and their whānau.”

“I am looking forward to new beginnings up here in Northland. I am going to be coaching a little and working as the Manager for Whangarei Squash Club. Although I am leaving Squash NZ, I still plan to be involved in the game that I have a true passion for and gave me so much as a Junior and Senior player,” said Kitchen.

As an athlete Shelley Kitchen ruled New Zealand women’s squash for several years, after emerging from the strong Kaitaia club in Northland in the 1990s. She won four successive New Zealand titles, from 2005-08, and was nationally ranked from 1998-2009. Kitchen came out of retirement to play in the world teams championship in Palmerston North in 2010, going through the event unbeaten.

She had outstanding results internationally, including winning a world doubles crown and a world mixed doubles silver medal.  She beat world No 1 Nicol David in Commonwealth Games and world championships and reached a career high world ranking of No 6. Kitchen won silver and bronze medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

In the 2011 New Year Honours, Kitchen was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sport.

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