Kitchen to be in­ducted into hall of fame

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Adam Pearse

Af­ter an 11-year pro­fes­sional ca­reer earn­ing mul­ti­ple ti­tles and medals, Kaitaia’s Shel­ley Kitchen will be in­ducted into the NZ Squash Hall of Fame at the na­tional squash awards on Satur­day.

Kitchen, now Squash New Zealand’s high per­for­mance man­ager, will be the first per­son in four years to be in­ducted into the cov­eted group which fea­tures squash leg­ends such as Dame Su­san Devoy, Mur­ray Day and Pam Davis.

“I was re­ally sur­prised just be­cause of other peo­ple be­fore me that were in­ducted, just be­cause of their cal­i­bre. There’s been some pretty im­pres­sive names in­ducted,” Kitchen said.

A for­mer World No 6-ranked pro­fes­sional player and Com­mon­wealth Games medal­list, she was in­ducted into the North­land Leg­ends of Sport last year.

At the 2006 Com­mon­wealth Games in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia, Kitchen beat World No 1 Ni­col David of Malaysia in the third­place match to cap­ture the women’s sin­gles bronze medal. She also won a sil­ver medal in the women’s dou­bles at the games, part­ner­ing Tam­syn Leevey.

Ear­lier that year, Kitchen and Leevey won the women’s dou­bles ti­tle at the World Dou­bles Squash Cham­pi­onships. In 2004, Kitchen fin­ished run­nerup in the mixed dou­bles at the World Dou­bles Squash Cham­pi­onships, part­ner­ing Glen Wil­son.

Af­ter get­ting sick in an at­tempt to come back for the 2010 Com­mon­wealth Games, she an­nounced her re­tire­ment in De­cem­ber 2010. In the 2011 New Year hon­ours, Kitchen was ap­pointed a Mem­ber of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit for ser­vices to sport.

Kitchen said while she was re­luc­tant at first, she felt hon­oured to re­ceive the ac­co­lade in front of her fam­ily and friends.

“It’s very spe­cial. I don’t re­ally think about my squash achieve­ments any more be­cause it seems like such a long time ago. My par­ents are com­ing down from Kaitaia, my sis­ter is com­ing and her hus­band, my men­tors, friends from squash club so it’ll be re­ally spe­cial.”

Kitchen said cur­rent NZ squash cham­pi­ons, Joelle King and Paul Coll, were role mod­els for young squash play­ers and she was fo­cused on pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for them and grow­ing the sport in other re­gions.

“The kids are re­ally mo­ti­vated. We know it takes 10-12 years once they come to [Squash NZ] to get them to a podium fin­ish so it’s a long jour­ney, so it’s im­por­tant to have that struc­ture to keep them go­ing.

“Coaches are a big part of that not just in our main cen­tres but all through­out NZ. Paul came from Grey­mouth and Joelle came from Cam­bridge so we need to be de­vel­op­ing in these ar­eas and giv­ing coaches op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow in those re­gions.”

PIC­TURE / FILE

Kaitaia’s Shel­ley Kitchen will have her fa­ther Colin (left) watch­ing on as she is in­ducted into the squash hall of fame next month.

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