Rising star on squash scene
By GREG WHITE
PLAYING in the second largest squash tournament on Planet Earth has helped put the polish on squash protege Tamika Saxby.
When 650 competitors lined up last month in Kuala Lumpur for the Milo All Stars Junior championship, Saxby placed tenth overall to follow up her fourth placing in the Penang International.
"The Malaysian visit gave me new confidence and some valuable ideas for competition," the 13-year-old explained.
"There's a different standard overseas and it will help when I play for the New South Wales Combined High Schools team next month."
Saxby found her trip to South East Asia a real eye-opener.
"The heat is so oppressive and while we played in an air conditioned centre I picked up a cold when moving into the warmer conditions outside.
"The cultural differences take some getting used to which makes competition a great deal tougher to what we experience at home."
It's been a meteoric rise up the ladder for Saxby who followed her family into the sport from the age of five.
Currently ranked number two in Australia for the 13 year girls' age grouping she earned her latest rating during April at the national seies in Thorleigh.
"Overall I finished second to Tanyan Xin, another Malaysian player who has won the British Open," Saxby said proudly.
"With players from all around the country involved you have to really concentrate on your game to do well."
As a member of the winning North Coast team Saxby has made State selection and over the next few months the young star will concentrate on CHS tournaments with the NSW under-15 team.
Next month, the opponent is Queensland at Cardiff before moving on to the Australian titles in Tasmania over September and October.