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Talented young Pontefract squash star ready to go to world level

Asia Harris, whose latest success came in the Millfield School U15s Open tournament.
Asia Harris, whose latest success came in the Millfield School U15s Open tournament.

Talented young Pontefract squash player Asia Harris is making a real name for herself in the national junior ranks.

The 13-year-old Ackworth School pupil looks to be heading for the top in the sport with a string of junior successes to her name already.

The latest victory came in an England Squash gold tournament when Asia won the Millfield School Open U15s title despite being up against some older girls.

Asia won all her matches 3-0 up to the final before beating Torri Malik, from Sussex, 3-2 in a thrilling final.

The previous week saw more success in winning the Yorkshire County closed girls U17s title at Pontefract, beating Lydia Robinson 3-1 and Amber Copley 3-0.

Asia is from Pontefract, but trains with Woodfield Squash Club, Doncaster, under the guidance of coach David Person, who works with world number ones Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro, and Rob Waller.

She first took up squash at the age of seven at Pontefract Squash Club, firstly with Gill Topless, then Malcolm Willstrop who noticed her talent and asked Asia to join his training squad at an early age.

Asia was keen, athletic and very competitive and started winning mini tournaments when only nine years old.

Major tournament victories have followed with Asia being ranked number one in England at under 11 and 13 levels.

Her wins at U13s level included English, Scottish, Irish and Wales European Championships as well as representing Yorkshire at No1 seed.

Asia is number one in England at U15s level in 2018 and has won the Czech Republic European Championship as well as representing England in the Five Nations event in France.

She also won the U17s Wales European Championship this year and is ranked number one in Europe at U13s level.

Asia has continued to represent Yorkshire and the North East region in major tournaments and has also played for England.

Proud mum Paul said: “Asia was coached up until the age of 13 by Malcolm Willstrop, who we owe a great deal to.

“But when Asia turned 13 we realised she needed more technical help as she was progressing very fast, so we got on board with David Person and he and Rob Waller, of Woodfield Squash Club, have taken Asia to the next level.

“Ackworth School are also right behind her and supporting her every need. Anton Maree, head teacher, and Guy Emmett, deputy head, are very understanding and supportive of Asia`s squash calendar, allowing days off school for tournaments etc.

“Asia got a scholarship for Ackworth Quaker School at the age of nine, for not just her sport but her academic side too.”

“Asia is very privileged to have so many supporters and has been an extremely lucky girl. We as parents feel very proud of our daughter with thanks to friends and family supporting her, although it comes at a financial cost, now.”

Asia’s parents are looking for sponsors who can help their daughter thrive at the highest level in the forthcoming years.

Paula said: “As Asia needs to start playing worldwide we are looking for sponsors to help her achieve her goals to become a professional squash player, hopefully being world number one, one day.

“All this costs money and we do what we can, but we really need some help now to help Asia to reach her goals.”

Asia, along with Sam Todd, of Pontefract Squash Club, made a video recently for Dunlop Squash and are the Global Junior face of Dunlop Worldwide.

Asia is sponsored by Dunlop, who provide her with squash equipment, rackets and bags, but she receives no other financial help.

Her next big event is the British Junior Championships, at Nottingham University this month.

Asia is also going to Boston in America in December to take part in the US Open.