New Zealand Squash Championships: Paul Coll & Joelle King claim New Zealand Titles – King Equals Dame Susan Devoy’s Record20 Jul 2023
Joelle King has made history at the New Zealand Squash Open, claiming her tenth national title to equal the record set by squash great Dame Susan Devoy in 1992.
World number four King was joined on the winners podium by Paul Coll, who notched up his seventh national title during the final day of competition at the Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre in Tauranga.
“This is always a special tournament for me, I can remember being a 10-year-old watching the nationals so to be here equalling Susie with 10 titles is pretty cool,” said King.
Squash great Dame Susan Devoy congratulated King on becoming the second ever New Zealand woman to secure ten national titles.
“Records are made to be broken and I hope we’ll see Joelle back here next year to go one better,” said Dame Susan.
A full list of New Zealand Squash Champions is available here.
King’s only setback of the day was forgetting her squash shoes, with friend and doubles teammate Amanda Landers-Murphy managing to locate them at their accomodation and get them to King with half an hour until game time.
“In 17-years of playing professional squash I’ve never once forgotten my shoes, unfortunately today was the first day it ever happened but my good old doubles partner had my back so I owe her one.”
On court King showed her pedigree for a comfortable victory over Megan Graham in the women’s final. The eight-time Commonwealth Games medal winner controlling the pace of the match and directing play with her power and precision for a comfortable three game win 11-5, 11-5, 11-4.
In the men’s final world number five Coll took on tournament second seed Lwamba Chileshe. Coll playing his trademark game to wear down his opponent and force mistakes during long rallies.
“I felt like I played really well today and it’s great to get another title,” said Coll.
“It’s been a really cool week, I love playing at home, I’ve been having a tough year but everyone’s really stuck with me and supported me so it’s great to come back here and see everyone.”
Coll took the match 11-2, 11-3, 11-3.
In the days other matches Elijah Thomas met Temwa Chileshe in the men’s 3rd place playoff with a fired-up Thomas too good. The Aucklander showed patience, absorbing pressure and biding his time to execute his shots when Temwa gave him an opportunity, taking the match in three games 11-9, 11-8, 11-9. Thomas let out a roar on winning the match and
“I enjoyed it out there and am really stoked with that win,” said Thomas.
“We always have a good battle and I guess I was just that little bit better today. I’m definitely feeling it now, the body is pretty sore after that and after Paul running me round like a rabbit yesterday.”
Earlier in the day Winona-Jo Joyce took on Ella Lash in a hotly contested women’s 3rd place playoff. Joyce started strong but Lash found her rhythm in the second, executing critical shots up front and was ultimately the more composed of the pair to take an 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 3-11 win.
“We always have big matches so I knew it was going to be a lot of work and it just came down to who had the energy at the end of the day,” said 17-year-old Lash.
“I can’t believe that I’ve just come third in New Zealand, last year I didn’t even make it past the second round here so I’m really happy.”
Squash New Zealand Poipātū Aotearoa Chief Executive Martin Dowson extended his thanks to everyone involved in a fantastic tournament.
“This has been a great few days of competition featuring a host of professionals as well as the future stars of New Zealand Squash,” said Dowson.
“As well as showcasing the best in our sport, this is also a significant development opportunity for many of our younger players and it’s been great to see this community really support each other over the past three days.
“I’d like to thank the athletes, coaches, referees, and everyone who has helped to make this a great tournament, we look forward to doing it all again next year.”
Results from the New Zealand Squash Championships are available here.
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