A FIRST-YEAR UCT student has been selected to be part of the national women's team that will represent South Africa at the World Squash Championships in Denmark next month.
Siyoli Lusaseni is the first squash player in the University's history to be selected to play for the national side.
â€œI am really happy with my achievements. In fact, so happy that I have to rearrange my goals because this was something I thought should happen in 2004,â€ she explains enthusiastically.
While surprised by her own achievements, Lusaseni, is also pragmatic and is quick to explain that in her opinion her current success is down to luck and hard work. â€œMy main goal at the beginning of the year was to make it into the Western Province women's A side, and luckily when I arrived at UCT I was ranked the women's number one from the beginning and that gave me an advantage. From there on, everything else fell into place.â€
Lusaseni was ranked seventh at the recent National Squash Championships where she played well against some of South Africa's best, and based on those performances was selected to play for the national side
At 19, she has also been fortunate enough to be coached by one of the greats of the game, Jonah Barrington. Barrington, a former world champion, is coach at Millfield School in the United Kingdom, where Lusaseni was reading for her A-levels.
â€œI had a really good relationship with him and because we got on so well I tended to forget that he is one of greats of the game, but he is an inspiration to me, especially now with everything that is happening.â€
Is she nervous for the upcoming tournament? â€œNo, not really, I have not set any high goals for myself, I just want to play well and gain experience and I will take it from there,â€ she states.
More news from the court:
THE UCT men's B-side squash team has for the first time in four years won the Western Province (WP) third league squash crown. The team, whose previous attempts for the league crown ended in disappointment, have, after a long dry spell, achieved an objective that will allow them automatic qualification to the WP second league.
â€œA lot more dedication and training than in previous years went into winning this title,â€ explains B-side team member Gerry Gopolang. UCT's squash fraternity is currently enjoying one of its best seasons, the 1st team came second in the Western Province first league and are ranked second nationally.
â€œWe are the top university team in the league at the moment. Other teams are sponsored professionals so we are doing very well,â€ adds UCT Squash Chairperson, Simon Ingersent.
The women's teams are also doing very well in their league, and recently added a feather to their collective cap when top player Siyoli Lusaseni reached the quarter-finals in the National Individual Squash Championships.