University of Johannesburg squash star Alexa Pienaar enjoyed some memorable moments at the World University Squash Championships in Birmingham, England, earlier this month.
Although losing to England’s Lily Taylor in the women’s individual final, the 24-year-old UJ player said it had been a fantastic experience.
“The tournament was very well organised and the facilities were amazing.
“But the definite highlights for me were carrying the South African flag at the opening ceremony as well as standing on the podium while the national flags were hoisted.
Reaching the final was a big improvement on her last appearance at the event in 2016 when she went out in the first round.
“I was extremely pleased when I won my semifinal match [against Zoe Foo of Malaysia] and suddenly realised that I was through to the final.
“It was all a little overwhelming and happened so fast to be honest, but it was amazing nevertheless.”
Reflecting on the final, she said she had felt the pressure of such a big occasion.
“I knew everyone from home was watching my match [on live streaming], not to mention the crowd,” said this year’s University Sport SA champion.
“She was the better player on the day, but I was a little disappointed in not being able to keep the intensity and level of focus that I had up until that point.
“But I was still happy to have made it so far.”
In the team event South Africa ended sixth, having only lost to Great Britain in the pool stages. They went down to the Czech Republic in the fifth-place playoff.