First Saskatchewan athlete to win national call-up for World Champs at Niagara
By Squash Mad Canada Reporter
Nikole (Nikki) Todd made history by becoming the first Saskatchewan athlete to represent Team Canada at the SHOP.CA World Team Squash Championship held December 1 – 6, 2014 at White Oaks Resort and Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.
The 24-year-old Regina native, now training in Toronto at the Squash Canada National Centre of Excellence Program – National Squash Academy in Downsview Park, won her Pool B at Squash Canada’s Women’s National Team Selection Trials at the National Squash Academy with a 4-0 record.
Todd recently represented Squash Canada at the Pan American Squash Championship in Toluca, Mexico this past September, where she won a Team Silver and Bronze Medal in Doubles with partner Danielle Letourneau of Calgary.
Todd is ranked #75 on the Women’s Squash Association (WSA) World Tour and #3 in Canada in the Women’s Open Singles. Todd was part of Team Saskatchewan, who won the 2014 Canadian Women’s Team Championship in Regina, SK this past January.
Nikki said: “I am super excited about qualifying! Missed out two years ago, so couldn’t be happier to make it this time around and couldn’t ask for a better team to play for!”
Letourneau, who is ranked #6 in the US College Squash Association (CSA) rankings, is a Cornell University student and squash team captain.
“I’ve been at school for the past few years. Once I graduate I plan on playing professionally. This is the first time I’ll be playing in the women’s world team championships so it’s a great opportunity to get exposure to top players and see where my game is relative to other players. I hope I can perform well and make Canada proud”, said Letourneau.
The 21-year-old Calgarian has had a great year. This past May, an unseeded Letourneau advanced to the finals of the Canadian Squash Championship where she lost to Samantha Cornett in the final.
Letourneau represented Squash Canada at the Pan American Squash Championship this past September in Toluca Mexico, where she won a bronze medal in singles, silver in the team event and bronze with Todd in doubles is ranked #6 in Canada.
Letourneau said, “I have been training hard over the past few months with this being my main goal. I’m happy all of my hard work this past year has paid off and I’m looking forward to the tournament this December.
Both players will represent Canada for the first time at the World’s and they will be joined by Canada’s # 1 player Samantha Cornett, 23, of Ottawa, Ontario. Cornett was automatically selected to the team by virtue of her #30 World Ranking.
Cornett (right) also participated at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland this past summer and won her second consecutive Canadian title.
Squash Canada Executive Director Danny Da Costa said: “We are very encouraged by the quality of our women’s program at the moment and we feel that we have the players to become one of the leading countries in the world over the next six to 10 years”.
Cornett, Todd and Letourneau are all 24 years of age or younger.
A fourth spot will be up for grabs on Sunday when 19 year old, Hollie Naughton of Oakville, Ontario world #71 takes on 18-year-old Alyssa Mehta of Toronto, ON, Canada’s #1 Junior Player and first-year Harvard University Student.
The Shop.ca Women’s World Team Squash Championship is the pinnacle women’s event on the international squash calendar.
Held every two years, this year’s event will feature 9 of the top 10 players in the world and the best female squash players from 20 countries on 6 continents will take part. Canada is hosting the event for only the 4th time in the Championship’s history.
Tickets to the World Team Championship are available on www.squash.ca or via the championship website www.wsfwomensteams.com