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Cook Islands makes debut at World Squash Championship

Tuesday 12 December 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Sports, Squash

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Cook Islands makes debut at  World Squash Championship
Cook Islands Squash team comprising Brian Tapurau, Dylan Robert Russell, Joshua Simeon and Manu Priest and coached and managed by Darryl and Tepua Russell of Pae Moana. SUPPLIED/23121117

The Cook Islands Squash team made their debut at the World Squash Federation Men’s World Team Championship in Tauranga, New Zealand, along with two other teams.

The team is made up of Brian Tapurau, Dylan Robert Russell, Joshua Simeon and Manu Priest.

Cook Islands Squash president Tutu Inamata said: “Cook Islands is participating in the Men’s World Team Squash Championship Tournament at this level for the first time.”

“Participants include renowned players like Egypt’s world number one squash player, Ali Farag, and New Zealand's number one player, Paul Coll, who won the Hong Kong Open in November and the New Zealand Open in December.”

Inamata explained that the Cook Islands team comprises young players from different clubs in New Zealand, including Auckland, Wellington, and Tauranga.

Russell is the recent winner of the Raro Open Tournament. Priest represented the Cook Islands in squash at the Pacific Games in 2019, as well as Tapurau and Simeon.

Darryl and Tepua Russell of Pae Moana lead the coaching and management of the team.

In their first match at the Mercury Baypark Arena, both newcomers Cook Islands and Tahiti went down to Czech Republic and Germany, while Philippines and Samoa lost out to South Africa and Canada, respectively.

According to a World Squash report, Tapurau said after the match that it felt good and the match was also a bit of an eye-opener.

“It’s cool being out on the world stage with everyone.”

On day one on Sunday (Cook Islands time), Czech Republic defeated Cook Islands 3-0. The national team faces USA today.

Inamata said the team expects a tough match against the USA.

“They’re enjoying the high skill level and overall experience,” he said.

Meanwhile, hosts New Zealand got off to an exciting start with a hard-fought 3-0 win over Republic of Korea.

Australia and Malaysia came from behind to avoid upsets to the Netherlands and Ireland, respectively.

Australia defeated Netherlands 2-1 and Malaysia defeated Ireland 2-1. Nigeria defeated Japan 3-0, Canada defeated Samoa 3-0 and Germany took on Tahiti winning 3-0.

The tournament ends on December 17.

Result

Czech Republic 3-0 Cook Islands (Viktor Byrtus 3-0 Dylan Russell: 11-2, 12-10, 11-1 (20m) Daniel Mekbib 3-0 Brian Tapurau: 11-3, 11-3, 11-3 (15m) Jakub Solnicky 3-0 Manu Priest 11-1, 11-0, 11-1 (14m))