Tamika now wants to take on world?s best
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
LEADING into the national under 13s singles final, local squash champ Tamika Saxby admitted she had some mixed feelings about her chances against Queenslander Dijo Sexton.
"I had played her about four-times before including last year's national final and I'd never beaten her," the 13 year-old said.
"I'd trained up for this though so my plan was to play my own game. Just moving the other person around the court and try and put her out of position."
If Sexton thought she had the wood on the Woolgoolga High student she was quickly forced into reassessing her chances.
Saxby's game has improved out of sight in the last six months thanks to a hard work ethic that was borne out of a rigourous training campaign that was undertaken to take Saxby to the top of her age group.
Excellent drives, volleys and drops helped Saxby turn the tables on her nemesis in the final to convincingly win the gold medal 9-6, 9-3, 9-1.
"I lost to her in four games the last time and I won the first set then, I didn't know if it was going to happen again," the new national champ explained of her thoughts during the match.
"I just tried to stay focussed on the actual day rather than the past.
"Towards the end there was a bit of nerves but you've sort of got to stick with it."
When the championship point was finally claimed by the girl who displayed a determination and steely resolve that couldn't be denied, the focus disappeared and the emotion began.
"I was really overwhelmed when I won," she said.
"It didn't kick in too much until afterwards but it was pretty good.
"I felt all the emotions I supppose. Satisfaction, relief, all of them."
Looking forward, the champ doesn't embark on any more tournaments until February but she's maintaining the the tough training regime to make sure she stays on top of her game.
"I'm still doing a lot of training now just to try and keep up the same level," Saxby said.
"I'm going to be doing a lot of cross training and extra strength work to be ready when the tournaments start up again."
There are also plans to play overseas including a return trip to New Zealand where Tamika impressed earlier this year as well as Asia.
If the cards fall the right way, there is even a slight chance that Saxby may even travel to Great Britain to play.
Until then the Year eight student is just soaking up the satisfaction of being able to say she's the best in the country.