Home' The Wellingtonian : July 21st 2011 Contents 23
THE WELLINGTONIAN, JULY 21, 2011
Proud supporters of
local rugby league
Saturday 23rd July
Porirua v Te Aroha
Wainuiomata v Randwick
Petone v St George
University v Upper Hutt
For all other draws visit our website
NZRL Hearts Camp
Sunday 24th July
Naenae Park 9am
Squash selection sparks row
Centre of storm: Kashif Shuja stretches for a drop shot against Campbell Grayson. Shuja has
been controversially dropped from the New Zealand squash team.
going on in New
Zealand squash circles
following the naming of
the national men's team
for the world champion-
ships in Germany next
The team is Martin
Grayson, Evan Williams
(of Tawa) and Paul Coll.
The glaring omission is Kashif Shuja, who
finished third at the New Zealand cham-
pionships last week.
It's difficult to follow the selectors' logic.
Shuja, who turns 32 this week, is one of
the giants of New Zealand squash.
He has won five national titles and been
runner-up on another occasion, and has led
New Zealand in three world champion-
His highest world ranking is 36th and at
present he is 74th. He's obviously still eager
-- he paid his own way back to New Zealand
just to qualify for the world championships
On results he should be No 3 in the team.
Paul Coll, formerly of Greymouth and
then Christchurch, is the shock inclusion.
Coll, the national junior champion, lost in
straight games in the quarterfinals of the
New Zealand champs, has a world ranking
of just 251st and lost to Shuja in the
Cousins Shield (the national club teams
event) a few weeks ago.
It appears the selectors have opted for
youth over performance, always a dubious
practice when choosing a team for a world
The decision will have
repercussions for the
New Zealand team.
Without Shuja, their
seeding for the world
champs will be lower,
meaning they will get a
tougher draw. They'll
miss his big-match
Sparc, Squash New
Zealand's major funder,
would expect the best possible team to be
sent to a senior world championship. That
It's not the first brouhaha in squash over
selection of a world championship team.
Squash followers with long memories will
recall debates over Howard Broun v Robin
Espie in 1979, John Mills v Anthony
McMurtrie in 1983 and Danny McQueen v
Rory Watt in 1991.
Other sports have ventured down the
youth over performance route, not always
with satisfactory results.
In 2003 John Mitchell chose a very young
squad for the Rugby World Cup. It soon
became clear Mitchell's team lacked on-
field nous, yet when he had the opportunity
to bring in an extra back because of an
injury to Ben Blair, Mitchell went for Auck-
land 20-year-old Ben Atiga ahead of wily
Atiga was never going to be a factor at
the World Cup. Mehrtens, having shrugged
off early-season injuries and run into peak
condition, might have been.
The question is: when is old too old?
Surely, only when a younger player is bet-
ter. Irene van Dyk returned from the world
netball champs in Singapore saying she
wants to represent the Silver Ferns at the
next such event, in Sydney in 2015. By then
van Dyk will be 43.
Van Dyk is not quite the player she was.
She seems slightly more cautious and
But she is still the best goal shoot in New
Zealand by a long margin.
She should be dropped from the New Zea-
land team only when someone better comes
The sports world is full of promising
They should interest the selectors of
national teams only when they are better
than the incumbents.
Gregorius does Football
Ferns proud at World Cup
Magic moment: Sarah Gregorius celebrates after scoring her first
World Cup goal, against england this month.
By NATALIE FINNIGAN
Stepping on to the pitch to
play her first game for New
Zealand at the Football World
Cup this month, Sarah
Gregorius had a moment
when she had to ask herself,
Am I really here?''
But as soon as the whistle
blew the Wellington-born
striker quickly chose to trust
in the many hours she had
spent training for that
Football is football,'' she
said. You just do it.''
Gregorius, 23, debuted for
the national women's Football
Ferns this year in the World
Cup qualifying games.
She described the experi-
ence of arriving in Germany to
play on the world's biggest
sports stage as mind-
New Zealand lost their
opening match with Japan by
A personal moment of truth
came for the Wellington for-
ward in the 18th minute of
the second match, against
England. She dodged between
opposing defenders and sent
fellow striker Amber Hearn's
cross past the goalkeeper, giv-
ing New Zealand an early
lead. Her excitement quickly
faded when New Zealand
were unable to hold their lead
and lost 2-1.
The team set the bar high
by aiming to reach the quar-
You have to back yourself,''
she said. No-one goes to the
World Cup thinking, We'll
just see how we go'.''
An unlikely 2-all draw in
their final match, against
Mexico, allowed the Ferns to
leave the tournament on a
high note. This was the first
point gained by New Zealand
in three women's World Cup
There was a quick debrief
after the final match, but
players haven't spent too
much time dwelling on the
loss to England.
The Ferns have only a few
weeks to recoup before they
are back into training, with
their sights set on next year's
Because there is no
women's professional football
league in New Zealand, most
of the Football Ferns work
Gregorius juggles her com-
mitment to football training
and her job with the New Zea-
land Automobile Association's
The training schedule is
punishing, and her nine-to-
five job is squeezed between
morning and evening sessions
with her team -- she plays for
Eastern Suburbs in domestic
We train a stupid amount
of hours -- twice a day and it
doesn't really stop,'' she said.
Although her schedule is
gruelling, Gregorius said she
understood the value of prep-
She said the team would
work as hard as they needed
to before the London
We want to be a better
team than the team that went
to the World Cup.''
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