Squash looking to the future

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA: Papua New Guinea’s top two squash athletes, 27-year-old Madako Suari Junior and 19-year-old Lynette Vai have performed extremely well at the Commonwealth Games.

The competition was tough in their respective divisions, with both players facing more seasoned professional opponents in the first two rounds main draw matches of the singles.

Being the pinnacle event for the sport of squash, the Games are strongly attended and dominated by top level professional squash athletes. PNG shows promise and has the potential to make it into the top ranks with the right training and support to its top level athletes.

“Whilst this remains a challenge, the experience and exposure at this level is invaluable to ensuring what our athletes can aspire to achieving,” said squash team manager, Konio Vai.

Due to the nature of the draw, Madako Junior and Vai were among the world’s best and had the opportunity to understand their opponent.

Madako Junior played his opening first round match against Uganda’s Michael Kawooya. Madako started strongly with a gallant effort however, it was not enough to hold off the assault from the Ugandan opponent, going down in straight sets, 12-10, 11-3, 11-6 (20min).

Vai on the other hand had a bye in the women’s first round matches that saw her through to the second round of the preliminary event against Joshna Chinappa of India.

Chinappa is currently the World No.14 on the Women’s Professional Squash circuit and is highly experienced with a belt of titles to her name.

Vai lost to her 3-0 with a score of 11-3, 11-7, 11-2 (16min). The second game of the match was Vai’s strongest squash played however, her opponent had managed to outsmart her by pushing her physically.

Although the results were not to her liking, Vai says she is more determined to embark seriously on the professional circuit this year. Her main goals onward are to train hard on her fitness and improve her standing on the professional squash circuit - specifically break into the top 100.

Team manager Konio Vai said the women’s game especially sees a changing of the guard as most of the top players are in the early to mid-thirties.

“The younger girls are now playing a more dominant role in the competition by pushing the senior professionals harder for their win, and in some cases have caused upsets.

“We believe, given the proper training and match preparation, the next Commonwealth Games we will see a totally different result as Lynette becomes a more seasoned professional with a tougher mental approach to the game, which could see her in the top 10 rankings of the Games.

“Likewise, with Madako Junior given the right training and competition could see him doing well in the next Games.”

From their losses of the preliminary rounds, both players were placed into the Plate event. Suari Junior and Vai won their first round matches and advanced to the Plate Quarter Finals.

Vai won her first match against Eilidh Bridgeman in straight sets, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (19min) and pushed onto the quarters to play Pakistani’s Madina Zafar.

It was a hard fought tussle however, Vai went down in three sets, 12-14, 7-11, 5-11, with the play lasting 33 minutes.

Madako Junior also won his first plate match in straight sets against Romit Parshottam of Fiji, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (18 minutes). The men’s plate quarter finals yesterday saw Madako Junior playing Cameron Stafford of Cayman Islands where he lost 3-0, 4-11, 4-11, 9-11 (17min).

The Mixed Doubles event will commence on Tuesday, 10th April 2018. Madako Junior and Vai will be playing their first match against the number one seeds from New Zealand, Joelle King and Paul Coll, at 13:15pm local time.

They will be playing another match on the same day against Malta’s Dianne Kellas and Bradley Hindle at 7:30pm local time at the Oxenford Studios.

Press release