Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sam and Lakeesha take Australian Junior Open titles

Celebrated coaches launch the next generation of Aussie squash stars
By KIM SCHRAMM – Squash Mad Australian Correspondent

Sam gets his trophy from Aussie legend Vicki Cardwell
Sam Ejtemai receives his trophy from Aussie legend Vicki Cardwell

The 2014 Australian Junior Open Championships have just concluded in Geelong. In a fitting finale, Victoria’s best player took out the coveted Under-19 Boys’ title before a very excited home crowd in 25 minutes. Sam Ejtemai destroyed Kiwi Scott Galloway in straight games 11-5, 11-8, 11-5.

“It was a good tournament, fun to be part of and an honor to win,” said a very modest champion. Commenting on the match itself, Ejtemai said: “It was tough but I felt in control. I sensed I had a little more experience than my younger opponent.”

Ejtemai thanked Squash Vic and his coaches Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Shauna Flath for all their support.

Selectors got the seedings near perfect, with nine number one seeds saluting. They can be excused for not getting the Girls’ Under 19 event spot on.

It would have been difficult to assess exactly where to install the Under 17 Oceania Champion given she was moving up an age group since her great win in January.

Lakeesha Rarere, the #2 seed from Queensland, took up where she left off at the Oceania. This time she stopped #1 seed Eloise O’Çonnor from WA in four games. The first three games were close but the fourth was just one-way traffic.

Queensland was again the premier state, winning four titles with three produced by athletes under the guidance of former world champion Rodney Eyles (Eustace, Eyles and Rarere). Mackay-based Brendan Macdonald dominated the Under-11 Boys event, winning his final in 10 minutes flat!

NSW dominated the younger girls’ events to win three titles. Sydney Johnson, Sze Tu Lee and Vanessa Graham did the “Blues” very proud.

WA won one title but it was by far the match of the day. It took William Curtis just over an hour to dispose of Nicholas Calvert in five grueling games. It was locked at 2-2 and 10-10 before Curtis threw caution to the wind and successfully nicked a serve. That gave him the momentum he needed to close out the battle 12-10.

Victoria may have only won one title (Sam Ejtemai) but it was the sentimental one that the locals really wanted. The international raiders took just one title out of the country with Kiwi Abbie Palmer bouncing back to powerful form dropping just seven points in a 13-minute final.

Congratulations to Fiona Young (Executive Director of Squash Vic) and thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors who have made the 2014 Championship such a tremendous success.

Squash Vic webcast the finals day with live coverage on one court and additional matches filmed. All the action of the main finals can be viewed by going to www.mysportlive.com.au

Australian Junior Open, Geelong.

U11 Brendan MACDONALD QLD [1] def Oscar CURTIS WA [2] 11-3 11-5 11-7 [0:10] U13 Ethan EYLES QLD [1] def Wesley DYER QLD [3/4] 11-2 11-4 11-5 [0:17] U15 William CURTIS WA [1] def Nicholas CALVERT QLD [2] 11-8 11-9 7-11 8-11 12-10 [1:02] U17 Alex EUSTACE QLD [1] def Alex OSWALD SA [2] 13-11 11-2 11-8 [0:34] U19 Sam EJTEMAI VIC [1] def Scott GALLOWAY New Zealand [2] 11-5 11-8 11-5 [0:25]

U11 Sydney JOHNSON NSW [1] def Eishaanii SUKUNESAN VIC 11-7 11-4 11-8 [0:15]
U13 Sze Yu LEE NSW [1] def Laura MOLONEY NSW [2] NSW 11-9 11-4 11-3 [0:13]
U15 Vanessa GRAHAM NSW [1] def Lauren MC INERNEY SA [2] 11-4 11-5 11-2 [0:15]
U17 Abbie PALMER New Zealand [1] def Tiana SAXBY NSW [2] 11-3 11-1 11-3 [0:13]
U19 Lakeesha RARERE QLD [2] def Eloise O’CONNOR WA [1] 11-8 9-11 11-8 11-3 [0:32]



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