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World No.6 Paul Coll looking forward to national champs

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

It’s a bit of a mismatch, but world No.6 men’s squash player Paul Coll from Greymouth is about to aim for his fifth national title, but has a different sort of opponent to what he’s used to.

Coll faces Ryan Cross who is a B1 grade player from the North Shore Club at 1pm at Unitec in the first round of the tournament. And if social media posts are anything to go by Cross can’t wait.

The full 32-player draw has plenty of local competitors, top juniors and experienced players from around the country as well as second seed, Campbell Grayson ranked 43rd in the world, the former Aucklander now based in Boston and a winner of the title in 2010 and 2012.

Also in the draw is Wellington’s Evan Williams ranked 104 who was a finalist at the Palmerston North PSA Challenger tournament and a title winner at the Southern PSA tournament in Invercargill recently.

But for Coll who is based in the Netherlands and rarely makes it back to New Zealand it’s just fun being around the game in his home country.

"I’m loving being back in New Zealand so far. Always a good feeling when I come back. I’m looking forward to this weekend there’s a real good buzz around the tournament. We’ve had a couple of training sessions at the venue and just looking forward to it really," said 27-year-old Coll.

"This tournament, It means a lot to us….it’s a strong tournament and everyone’s in top form and the juniors back here are improving."

The women’s draw is also strong and features world No.6 Joelle King as top seed, defending champ and six-time winner along with King’s Commonwealth Games doubles gold medal partner, Amanda Landers-Murphy from Rotorua ranked 42 in the world.

Also in the draw is Megan Craig making a comeback to the nationals after a couple of years absence. Craig won the title in 2014 and 2016.

The Barfoot and Thompson New Zealand Squash National Championships will be played at the National Squash Centre at Unitec, Auckland 28 - 30 June.

Draws and schedules can be found here

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