Aberdare’s Ciara Richards has produced some good squash during the Dunlop British Junior Open Squash Championships in Birmingham.
At a time when Welsh senior Tesni Evans and has achieved a hugely impressive World ranking of 12, it’s fantastic to see young players making their mark against opposition from around the World.
Wales junior champion Richards, 17, won 11-8, 11-9, 13-11 against Gabrielle Mawson (England) in the girls under-19 event at Edgbaston Priory.
Young players from 39 countries including the USA, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Egypt and Ecuador are at the British Junior Open’s new home in Birmingham.
A record 620 youngsters, including 16 from Wales, have already taken to the courts including Ciara, who was edged out by Malaysia’s Wen Li Lai in straight games.
Two of the Welsh players went head-to-head when Nero Harms played James Silvester in the boys under-13 section. Silvester emerged the winner of a fiercely contested match in five games, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6.
Archie Turnbull defeated Japan’s Shunsaku Karlyazono 11-4, 11-8,11-4, while he was beaten in straight games by Ali Siam (Egypt).
Other Welsh players competing are sisters Ellie and Millie Breach, playing in the girls under-13 and under-11 events respectively.
Both were beaten by American players in their opening games with Ellie losing against Sehveetrraa Kumar, while Millie was edged out by Whitney Wilson.
Nero Harms is joined by his brother, Tate, at the championships. Tate won 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 against James Campbell-Wynter (England), but then went down against Leo Fatialofa.
Mummidi Srikar took on England’s Nathan Mead in a five-game thriller. Mummidi hit back from 2-0 down to win 4-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5.
Srikar was then beaten in straight games by Simon Herbert (England).
Layne Beattie, Owen Evans-Heyes, Katie Jones, Lucy Jones, Daniel Lewis, Ryan Lewis, Lewis Poole and Megan Thomas are the other players representing Wales at the British Junior Open.
In the inaugural under-11 category all leading seeds sailed through except Blake Lee (USA), who was ousted by Abdul Fahmi Abd Basir (Malaysia) 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-5.
Boys under-19 top seed Marwan Tarek (Egypt) secured his third round berth with a 3-0 triumph over Australia’s Nicholas Calvert, while third seed Ahmed Elmashad followed suit with a straight-games victory over Spain’s Pablo Quintana Estevez.
America stole the limelight in the girls under-19 event. Elizabeth Lentz ended Egypt’s Zeina Khaled’s hopes of progressing, coming out on top in straight games.
There was more cheer for Lentz’s compatriot, Claire Aube, who defeated Ashita Benghra (India) 3-2.
On a different note, Squash Wales have announced the Welsh Championships have moved from January to March.
The championships will now be plays at the Sport Wales National Centre from Friday, March 16 to Sunday, March 18.
Squash Wales are running the South Glamorgan Championships on Saturday, January 13 and Sunday, January 14, also at the SWNC.