Warm up for the heat

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Zac Mil­lar

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