Madibaz player Hayley Ward received another valuable learning experience in her promising squash career when she competed in the World University Championships in England earlier this month.
The 20-year-old accounting student said just being part of the national team and supporting the other players made it a tournament to remember.
“Overall, it was an amazing experience and I am so happy I got to go with a great bunch of teammates and managers who made the trip even more special.”
This was Ward’s first appearance at the world university event and she learnt a lot by observing the top competitors at the event.
“You get to see how players from around the world approach the game and how it differs from us,” she said.
“I also got to watch some really good players, especially in the men’s category where you had a player ranked as high as number 25 [Yip Tsz Fung of Hong Kong] in the world.”
She added that a difference in the height of the front wall tin was another new experience.
“The tin was 17 inches high, in comparison to the 19 inches in SA. That means you have to stand forward more and move more quickly to the front.
“Also we played on the glass court and ASB courts, as opposed to our brick walls, so that differs quite a bit.”
Overall, she said she was able to adapt reasonably well.
“We were lucky to have training before the competition started and our coach, Mike Bester, did some drills and feeding, as well as giving us some valuable tips.”
The South African team played in the individual and team events in Birmingham. SA finished sixth in the team competition, while Ward ended seventh in the women’s individual tournament.