Young squash star remembered

 Jade Wilson
Jade Wilson

Former Paremata schoolgirl Jade Wilson was inducted into the New Zealand Squash Hall of Fame last week.

Wilson, who attended Paremata School, then Wellington Girls' College, is the only New Zealand squash player to have won a world junior title.

The popular youngster won the world title in Sydney in 1995.

She killed herself three years later.

Her mother Stephanie, who owns the Magpie gift shop in Mana Esplanade, travelled to Christchurch for the induction and accepted the award on Jade's behalf.

"It was a very nice evening," Mrs Wilson said.

"A parent never forgets, of course, but I wondered if perhaps Jade had been forgotten a bit by the squash world.

"To judge by the reaction in Christchurch, she obviously hadn't been.

"Jade always worked very hard at her squash and deserved that world title. She would have been thrilled to be recognised by being voted into the hall of fame."

Jade began playing squash at the Tawa club, where she was coached by Tony Naughton. When she was barred from playing because of her youth, she moved to the Mana club, where Rob Walker coached her.

Later she came under the coaching guidance of Barrie Matthews, who was based in Palmerston North.

Matthews travelled to Sydney for the world champs and guided Jade to victory.

He was in Christchurch to present Mrs Wilson with the certificate.

Jade was always a high achiever.

At the 1993 world champs, when she was only 16, she reached the semifinals.

"She was actually a bit disappointed she didn't go further, and that gave her more motivation to go on and win it the next time," Mrs Wilson said.

In Sydney, Jade won the world title without dropping a game.

She comfortably beat two future world No 1s in the semifinal and final.

She went within a whisker of winning a New Zealand senior title and reached No 18 in the world as a senior, before her career was tragically cut short.

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