Yukon juniors held to one win at squash nationals

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success, said Alexander Graham Bell. Though the famous inventor probably didn’t have squash in mind when he said it, the quote is applicable. A lack of preparation may have played a part in a less-than-stellar showing for two Whitehorse players.

RICHMOND

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success, said Alexander Graham Bell.

Though the famous inventor probably didn’t have squash in mind when he said it, the quote is applicable.

A lack of preparation may have played a part in a less-than-stellar showing for two Whitehorse players at the 2013 Canadian Junior Squash Championships last week and over the weekend in Richmond, B.C.

Mustafa Syed and Kai Knorr grabbed just one win between them.

“I didn’t really train much at all this year because I was busy with school and I just started a new job, so I had to do that,” said Syed. “But now I’m going to start training regularly and hopefully next year I’ll get better.”

“They’ve been training since the day they started squash and way more often,” said Knorr of his opponents. “We only train twice a week and before that I wasn’t playing squash for six months.”

Syed defeated Vancouver’s Adam Wong in three games in the first round of the U17 boys division. He then lost in the second round to Cambridge’s Ethan Sholhet. Sholhet, who is ranked 13th in Canada in U17, went on to lose in the quarterfinal.

“I didn’t play very well at this tournament at all,” said Syed. “The only game I played well was the first one. I don’t know why. I wasn’t used to the courts and my mental game was gone.”

Syed, who is ranked 23rd in Canada for his age group, lost to Manitoba’s Adrien Chamberland-Mike in the consolation round and then to Arjun Padda in four games to finish the championship in the bronze draw.

Last week was Syed’s third appearance at the junior nationals, but his first time going in U17.

“So I wasn’t expecting to do very well,” said the 15-year-old. “But I thought I would do a bit better than how I did – I should have. The last match I played (against) this person I used to beat in three, and I didn’t play well at all and he played very well.”

Knorr, 17, had a tough draw in the U19 boys division for his first junior nationals.

He lost in three games to B.C.’s Alykhan Thobani, who is ranked 11th in Canada and was seeded eighth at the championship. Thobani went on to reach the quarterfinal.

“I haven’t played people that good before,” said Knorr. “I didn’t have much training time before I came down to Vancouver … Hopefully I’ll be back next year with a whole bunch more training and hopefully win next time.”

Knorr, who is currently ranked 28th in Canada for his age division, then lost in three to 29th-ranked Pierce Masuhara in the consolation round and to 38th-ranked Michael Chick in the bronze draw.

“It was definitely one of the hardest tournaments I’ve been to because the calibre of play is way higher than in Whitehorse,” said Knorr.

Syed’s best result at the junior nationals was last year in Toronto, where he took two wins and two losses to reach the consolation round of 16 in U15.

He finished last season ranked 19th in Canada for U15 boys.

Syed, who represented the Yukon at the 2011 Canada Winter Games, won the Squash Yukon’s Early Bird Tournament to start the season in October.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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