Richmond will have no less than seven, top-seeded athletes competing in the Canadian Squash Championships in Toronto this week.
Veera Dhaliwal, Maria Min, Joelle Kim, Jacob Lin, Joseph Toth and twin sisters Ocean and Spring Ma will be vying for titles in various age groups when the four-day competition starts on Wednesday.
The event will be the first major domestic tournament in nearly two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ma twins - Burnett secondary students who will turn 15 in December and will be competing in the U15 category, have been playing squash for almost four years - after the intense sport was recommended to them by a friend.
They’ve managed to maintain their mental and physical fitness during the sport’s shutdown by training with each other and playing against each other whenever possible.
Spring Ma said that, despite the limitation of access to squash during the pandemic, she and her sister have tried their best to keep an edge by doing home workouts, running and watching squash in TV.
“During quarantine, we actually found walls around our area that are fitted for squash hitting, and we just made use of the space we had,” said Spring.
Ocean, meanwhile, told the Richmond News that the lack of competition during the pandemic hasn’t affected her as adversely as she thought it might.
“We continued to train, work hard, and improve along with other players at our club to prepare for a squash season after the pandemic,” said Ocean who, along with her sister, plays out of the West Coast Squash Academy at Sport Central in north Richmond.
“Personally, I stayed motivated by the continuous competition with Spring. I am extremely lucky to have someone at a similar level whom I can continue to train with during the pandemic.”
Spring added that the upcoming nationals hold an even greater importance than before and that she’s “stressed out but excited at the same time. This is a chance for us to prove ourselves and how much we have worked during the past two years.”