NZ Nationals: Joelle King breaks THE record!!!

Joelle King has made history, becoming the first ever athlete to win 11 New Zealand Squash Championship Titles.

The New Zealand Squash Championships saw 44 athletes play around 125 matches between Friday and Sunday at the Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre in Tauranga.

Up against young up-and-comer Ella Lash in the women’s final at Tauranga’s Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre, King was a cut above, dropping one game as she cruised to another national title, beating 18-year-old Lash 11-5, 7-11, 11-3, 11-8.

The win sees King break squash legend Dame Susan Devoy’s 32-year-old record of 10 national titles.

“To dream of winning one was huge when I was a child, so to be on my 11th is surreal,” said King.
“I’ll never match some of Suzie’s records but to beat one of them is no mean feat and I’m, really pleased.”

King was sidelined from the sport for eight-months from last October with a disc problem in her back and a torn meniscus.

“It’s been the toughest time of my career. To just be back on court playing is a big win, I’ve been extremely emotionally but I’m so happy to have got through the weekend pain free.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand has a new men’s champion, following a family showdown between brothers Temwa and Lwamba Chileshe.

Older brother Lwamba took the honours, winning in three games. The match got off to a brutal start with a mammoth 32 points contested in the opening game, Lwamba eventually winning 17-15 after Temwa was unable to convert five game balls.

From there Lwamba stayed composed and rode his momentum for a 17-15, 11-7, 11-8 victory.

“It was a bittersweet victory for me today as I always want the best for my brother and it’s always hard playing him as we both know each other’s games inside and out,” said Lwamba.
“I am very stoked to have won my first ever national title as I don’t know if I’ll ever get my name on this trophy again!

“Shout-out to Paul Coll who is New Zealand number one and decided to have his wedding at the same time as nationals to give the rest of us a shot at this title!”

Squash New Zealand Poipātū Aotearoa Chief Executive Martin Dowson extended his thanks to everyone involved in the tournament.

“This has been a fantastic event and it’s been great to see our squash community out in force to cheer on our stars and our athletes of the future,” said Dowson.

“As well as being an elite tournament, the National Championships is also a significant development opportunity for many of our younger players and it’s been nice to see them soaking it all in and learning a lot over the past three days.

“I’d like to thank the athletes, coaches, referees, and everyone who has helped to make this a great tournament, we look forward to doing it all again next year.”