Chileshe chuffed to play in the South

Squash has taken Temwa Chileshe all around the world, but now the sport has lured him back to the South.

Chileshe, who grew up in Christchurch and has grandparents in Cromwell, has been in Dunedin this week playing in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Skillzea Open.

The event has attracted a high calibre of players with athletes travelling from the Netherlands, Egypt and Australia for the first event held in Dunedin at the Pirates Squash Club.

Chileshe, who is based in Sheffield and represented New Zealand at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, played some squash in Dunedin as a junior and was stoked to see the tournament in the city.

"It’s really cool that it’s down south, because most of the tournaments are up north in either Auckland, Wellington or Tauranga," Chileshe said.

"It’s really nice to actually come down to the South Island and for some of the coaches and younger players around here to see some of the top squash, because they just don’t see much of it."

Among those top players is No1 seed Rowan Damming, of the Netherlands, who was the men’s junior world champion in 2022, and Egyptian Adam Hawal.

Hawal, a bright prospect in the sport, caused an upset earlier this week when he beat Damming.

Temwa Chileshe is in Dunedin this week competing at the PSA Skillzea Open at the Pirates Squash...
Temwa Chileshe is in Dunedin this week competing at the PSA Skillzea Open at the Pirates Squash Club. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
"[Hawal’s] only 15, which is incredible," Chileshe said.

"Everyone’s just a bit gobsmacked here, so that’s quite cool.

"It’s good for some of the locals here to see how good some of the young players are overseas."

No 2 seed Chileshe, whose brother, Lwamba, another Commonwealth Games representative, is No 3 seed at the tournament, had a good win over Willz Donnelly on Thursday.

He then beat Anthony Lepper 3-1 in his quarterfinal last night and will meet his brother in today’s semifinal.

The other semi will be between Hawal and fourth seed Elijah Thomas.

After the Dunedin tournament, Chileshe will head to Christchurch for the second PSA tournament and then compete at nationals.

He will return to Sheffield for a training block before hopefully heading to the United States and Canada for tournaments when the new season began in September.

The tournament reaches crunch time with the semifinals from 4.30pm today. The final starts at 2pm tomorrow.