A Victoria University student is hoping to raise the profile of squash as he competes for Australia at the World University Squash Championships to be held in Melbourne July 10-18.
Luke Sims, 20, said squash reached its peak in popularity in the 1970s and 80s, but is making a gradual comeback. It narrowly missed out being instated as a sport for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, but is being considered for 2020.
The second-year double bachelor's degree student in exercise science and psychology said he hopes having an Australian city host the seventh biannual world tournament for university students will help with the sport's renewal in this country.
"Squash is physically demanding since ball speeds can reach up to 200 km/h, but strategy and experience are also important," he said.
Luke competed at the World Junior Championships in New Zealand in 2006 and Switzerland in 2008, and is now ranked among the top 300 in the world. Squash players tend to reach their peak in their late 20s, and Luke, who is still at the start of his international career, hopes to make the 2014 or 2018 Commonwealth Games, where the sport is recognised.
As part of Australia's five-member World University team, Luke has been chosen from university squash players across the country to compete in individual and team events against 13 visiting countries including Britain, Iraq, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Luke, a Sunbury resident, trains or competes at least six days a week at Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre, the RACV Club, and Squash Logic Melton.
"The main goal is to do the best I can and help the team get the best results for Australia," he said.
The team will be coached by Australian squash legend, Sarah Fitz-Gerald, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in 2002 and five-time World Open title winner.
Luke is available for interview on 0409 402 519. Photos of Luke in action are also available.
Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer, VU Marketing and Communications Department, Ph: (03) 9919 5487 or 0403 556 001.