Talented youngster continues his rise on national ladder
For Cambridge teen Ben Calvert, a decision to give up tennis for squash has seen him climb new heights in the sport.
As a child, the 17-year-old initially played tennis and was looking to participate in a winter sport - fortunately he ended up playing squash and has continued since.
“I played tennis and then just in the winter I wanted to do a sport, and kind of got into squash.”
The Hamilton Boys' High School student competed at the national squash championships in Tauranga this month, earning selection into the New Zealand secondary schools squash team.
His selection meant that he was in Australia this week, with the team competing in a tri-series with Queensland and New South Wales representative sides. The year 13 pupil said he was pretty stoked and looking forward to competing at an international level.
Having to travel is one of the aspects the aspiring athlete loves about squash and he hopes it is not the last time he will get to do so.
“I like playing in the tournaments - I get to meet heaps of people and travel.
"Travel around New Zealand, been to Australia for a tournament,” Calvert said.
Ideally, he would like to travel further abroad playing squash for an overseas club.
Calvert still has unfinished business at the junior level, while long term he aims to one day reach the elite level.
“I want to reach A1, which is the highest grade, and I want to play for a club overseas like in England or something.
“For next year, juniors, I still have another year so probably making the final for that - the top two.”
Calvert is eager to push the profile of squash, especially amongmales, and believes he is seeing a change back in his hometown, with more juniors participating.
“There are quite a few more juniors in Cambridge joining so it's good. There's another couple of guys from school that help out at junior nights, everyone seems to be getting into it a bit more.”
Though the season appears to be slowing down, the junior nationals and club championships are next on the agenda for Calvert, who is a member of the Cambridge Racquets Club.
Calvert says Joelle King and Dame Susan Devoy are the players he admires most within the game, not because of their achievements, but for attitudes that set them apart.
“For Susan, it is how good she was and how she always went on the court to win, her attitude,” he said. But it is not all about squash for the talented teen. Calvert enjoys his golf and plays cricket in the summer. He plans to study law next year at the University of Waikato.
- © Fairfax NZ News