World in her sights Vanessa Graham: national champ

THE region's latest Australian champion Vanessa Graham has etched her name in the history books by becoming the first NSW squash player to be crowned the Australian under-13 girls' junior champion.

The Magdalene Catholic High School student did it in style, failing to drop a single set throughout the tournament.

She was the only one in her age group to achieve such a feat.

The 12-year-old defeated ACT player Kathleen Palmer 11-0, 11-2, 11-6 at Woden Squash Centre, Canberra, in the final.

"This is the greatest achievement I have ever done in my life," Vanessa said.

"It feels really good; it was great to hear my parents and friends cheering for me, especially in the grand final."

A player at Connections Health Club's courts at Smeaton Grange, Vanessa, of Narellan Vale, is in goods hands during her weekly squash lesson, training with three-time Australian Open women's winner and six-time British Open women's champion Michelle Martin.

"I have progressed to train with Michelle Martin late last year to really push my game and technique," she said.

"Because I get to play a whole lot of different players [in various club competitions], I get to try different things in my game and be prepared for any kind of player.

"I also don't get too nervous before my games because I feel better prepared to face any challenge."

Vanessa is focused on reaching the top level and is prepared to shed "blood, sweat and tears" to achieve her goals.

Her immediate aim is to win the state age titles at Coffs Harbour in July.

"My biggest goal is to be number one in the world," she said.

"If I could do this I would be over the moon.

"Next year I have to move up to the under-15 age group and I know I'll have a lot of competition there.

"It would be great if I can continue at this level against the older age group as well."

Connections owner David Wright said Vanessa had what it takes. "Anything that comes her way she deserves," he said.

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