11:13 pm
24 May 2024

Hosts NZ Begin 2023 World Team Championship In Style

11 Dec 2023

After a four-year absence, the WSF Men's World Team Championship made a triumphant return today in New Zealand where eight ties took place in Tauranga at the Mercury Baypark Arena and the Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre.

The hosts got the biennial event off to an exciting start with a hard-fought win over Republic of Korea.

With New Zealand No.1 and world No.3 Paul Coll rested after winning the New Zealand Open yesterday, it was up to second string Lwamba Chileshe, the world No.104, to lead the team.

The 24-year-old made the worst possible start against Dongjun Lee, with the Korean taking the first game 11-8.

Chileshe levelled with an 11-5 win in game two, but fell behind once more after game three, as unranked Lee sensed an upset.

Fortunately for the home crowd, Chileshe was able to steady himself, taking the next two games 11-5, 11-6, with his teammate and brother Temwa Chileshe then sealing the win with a 3/0 victory over Hyeon Beom Kang, before Elijah Thomas added the extras with a win in straight games against Ji Donghyun.

Afterwards, Lwamba Chileshe said: "It was fun at times but quite stressful! Up first, I think that's why I struggled a bit, I felt under pressure and a bit nervous.

"But I'm just really happy to get the win for the team."

Also at the Devoy Centre, Australia and Malaysia came from behind to avoid upsets to the Netherlands and Ireland, respectively.

For Australia - the most successful team in competition history - Rhys Dowling and Dylan Molinaro proved to be the heroes against Thijs Roukens and Sam Gerrits after Joseph White's defeat to 2022 World Junior Champion Rowan Damming.

For Malaysia, it was Sanjay Jeeva and Ameeshenraj Chandaran to the rescue, with the pair beating Sean Conroy and Oisin Logan after Addeen Idrakie's defeat to Sam Buckley.

Elsewhere, four teams made their championship debuts.

In the Mercury Baypark Arena, event newcomers Cook Islands and Tahiti went down to Czech Republic and Germany, while in the Devoy Centre, Philippines and Samoa lost out to South Africa and Canada.

Cook Islands' Brian Tapurau said afterwards: "It feels very good - but a bit of an eye opener.

"It's cool being out on the world stage with everyone."