Champions coming from everywhere for squash event
INTERNATIONAL squash players have flooded Coffs Harbour this week for the World Qualification Tournament being held in town from Thursday to Saturday.
This year's line-up is one of the strongest ever with any one of a number of players capable of taking out a title.
The tournament is one of seven such events around the world with the winner guaranteed a spot in the World Championships later this year.
The women's World Championships are being held in Cairo, Egypt in October and while the top 64 men on the planet will compete in Doha, Qatar this November.
This places tremendous importance on doing well this week in Coffs Harbour.
The quality of matches over the coming days can't be underestimated, with stars from Malaysia, Scotland, U.S. and Japan all set to figure in the business end of the tournament.
Top seeds Evan Williams from New Zealand and Hong Kong's Vanessa Chu will both be tough to beat.
The women's draw has six players ranked in the top 100 so spectators can expect some great match ups during the rounds on Friday.
World number 49 Chu visited the Coffs Coast in 2014 and is excited to be back.
"Yeah I'm so happy to be back after a few years and as the number one seed," Chu said.
"I've trained hard and tried something different to improve myself these last few months because I know they're all good players.
"I've played with some of them before but some of them I haven't so I've watched some videos to helping me out."
Aside from the established veterans, there are also some very exciting emerging talents on the PSA World Rankings who will be taking part.
Among them will be Malaysia's Aifa Azman who finished third in the under-19 World Championships and Egypt's Moustafa Elsirty who was runner up in the Men's under-19 World Junior Championships.
Australian players looking to perform well include Sarah Cardwell, the number two seed who will be playing her 300th PSA match in the opening round on Friday.
Jessica Turnbull, seeded three, has also been in good form following her win at the South Australian Open earlier this month.
"I'm super excited about the possibility of qualifying for world champs," Turnbull said.
"Having a ranking that is just outside the cut off is very frustrating, but having events like North Coast on the calendar makes bridging that gap a bit easier, plus it's on home soil so that's a big bonus as well."
The public are invited to visit the Coffs Harbour Squash and Swim Centre in Korora to watch the star-studded field in action over the next four days.