The 35th Australian Open Racquetball Championships, which was held in Albury from October 12 to 14, was a resounding success with more than 200 entrants all vying for one of the 16 national titles on offer.
While former Bairnsdale racquetballer, Cam White, and Sarah Fitzgerald, once again claimed the lion’s share of the $10,000 booty on offer, it was the junior brigade who stole the show, capturing five of the ten singles titles on offer.
White, continued his reign of dominance in the Australian racquetball scene, defeating Victorian grand prix circuit leader, Peter French, to take home his 17th national title in the men’s category.
Despite French’s remarkable returns and speed, White had kept his cool, maintaining an early lead to comfortably secure the title in three games.
Earlier in the tournament, White overcame Tasmanian, Leigh Mitchell, in the semi final, 21-15 19-21 21-6, and French came from a game down to overpower his Geelong stablemate, Garry Pedersen, 14-21 21-14 21-18, to make the final.
White has won every single Australian open men’s title since 2001 besides 2002 and is also a 16-time Victorian Open men’s champion.
Despite being off the grand prix circuit for almost 12 months, Lakes Entrance’s Jordan Rounds claimed the “B” grade title.
Facing New South Wales’ Glen Bailey, the first two games of the final were tight with neither player giving an inch. Bailey won the first game, 22-21, and Rounds the second, 21-19, before Rounds took charge with the championship on the line, winning 21-10 over a courageous Bailey.
Victoria’s Sarah Fitzgerald showcased her brilliant game, depth and skill to take her 10th consecutive national title in the women’s.
Up-and-coming New South Wales junior talent, Daniel Chu, claimed the “A” grade crown after a tough match against Albury’s Tom Freire.
South Australian Damon Hagerstrom claimed the “C” grade title, after an entertaining final against Lakes Entrance’s Michael Smits.
While Smits put up a good fight, Hagerstrom eventually claimed the title in two games, 21-19 21-16.
Goulburn Valley grand prix debutant, Damian Maidment, won the “D” grade championship. Gabby Baines defeated Lillian Brigden in the “E” grade final, while Wangaratta junior, Mitchell Hobb, triumphed over Bayswater’s Jessica Wilcock, 21-15 21- 17, to take the top honours in “F” grade.
Xavier and Amelia Brigden triumphed in the junior boys and girls categories respectively.
In the teams challenge Albury was first with Wodonga and Geelong rounding out the top three.
PICTURED: Former Bairnsdale racquetballer, Cam White, claimed his 17th men’s crown at the 35th Australian Open Racquetball.