Mana squash player bound for Qatar

Last updated 10:34 22/05/2012
Kris Dando
QATAR BOUND: Zac Millar has to do some serious fundraising to get to the Middle East for the junior world squash champs in July.

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Zac Millar is preparing to contend with sweltering heat and the best squash players in the world in July.

Ranked in the top five for under-19 players in New Zealand, the Mana Squash Club member is unsure what to expect at the junior worlds in Qatar in early July.

He knows he'll have to play his heart out to make an impact and single digit temperatures here will make way for at least 30 degree-days in the Middle East.

"I don't have any goals there as such, it'll be a great experience and I'll just do the best I can. It gives you a view of what's happening in the world, how the best players for my age are playing."

Millar, from Paraparaumu, is the youngest in the four-strong team at 17. His selection came after excellent showings at the New Zealand, Wellington and Waikato age group tournaments, winning the latter.

The level of training and playing the game has picked up in the past 12 months, "more than I ever have before". Under the guidance of experienced coach Nick Mita, he has been on a targeted programme since Christmas, training at least twice a day for three hours.

Millar heads to Malaysia with Mita this weekend for some warm-up tournaments.

Meanwhile, Tawa Squash Club celebrated another successful Tawa Open held over May 10-13. Numbers were such that people had to be turned away, club manager Peter Bowers says.

"People know we run a pretty good tournament and it's getting more popular, with good sponsors. We had 110 entries but could only cater for 80."

In the A finals Willie Bicknell (Thorndon) prevailed over Shane Johnson 16-14 in the fifth set, while Mikayla Kerr (Mitchell Park) defeated Renee Walkinshaw in four sets in the women's final.

Mr Bowers says the planned expansion of two extra courts is still ticking along, with architects' plans expected soon, after which they can have a pre-application meeting with Wellington City Council.

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