Lea Wins Ladies Rackets British Open 2015 - 24 February 2015

Lea Wins Ladies Rackets British Open 2015 - 24 February 2015

Sixth former Lea Van der Zwalmen is celebrating after winning the Ladies Rackets British Open Rackets Championship. 

After a tough tournament, Lea won 15/6, 15/3, 15/3.

In presenting the prizes, former World Doubles Champion, and Queen’s Chairman, Tim Cockroft, said that Lea’s backhand was technically as good a stroke as he had seen in the last 20 years of watching the Schools’ Championships, girls’ and boys’.

Lea said: "I first started to play rackets last year (2014) and managed to win the Public School Girls’ National Championship held at Queen’s Club.

"Since then, I have been playing more and more rackets and even playing doubles with the boys, which is challenging regarding the speed of the ball." 

Reggie Williams, Clifton's Rackets coach, said: "Lea has done extremely well in winning the Ladies British Open.

"She has already won the u19 Welsh Open and the u19 French Open at squash and has played in the Professional Squash League for Bristol last year.

"Lea played amazing rackets throughout the British Open tournament and fully deserves her rewards."

A modest Lea has thanked those who helped her on the road to success. She said: "I am the one who is on court playing but my British Open title is not just mine - it also belongs to those who helped me to achieve it.

"My first thought is for Reggie Williams, my rackets coach, who not only introduced me to the game but also spent hours with me on court and organised friendly doubles matches with other schools and even with the current world champion Claire Fahey.

"He always finds the right words to motivate me makes me push even harder on court.

"I also need to thank Sam Beale who always gives brilliant advice about how to improve my game and who is always ready to step on court with me to do proper drills and serve practice.

"Finally, I have to think my sparring partners (Old Cliftonian Doug Evan and James Johnson) who helped me so much by playing with me- and sometimes destroying me.

" I also learned a lot from watching the boys at school, especially Henry Mullan (ET) who is a top 8 rackets player himself, and Dan Lewis."

Lea is already looking forward to the future. She said: "Winning the British Open is a remarkable achievement but I am already focused on my next objective which is to retain my Public School Girl National Champion title in March before playing the World Championship in May."