King returns as queen of squash world

By James Perry

While rest and relaxation is on the cards for King, she will also be preparing for her next tournament early in the new year.

King (Ngāti Porou) arrived home this morning from Hong Kong where she won her very first major Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournament over the weekend.  She is the first New Zealander to win a PSA platinum event in 15 years.

Cambridge-raised King is looking forward to relaxing at home, with friends and family and is hoping to spend some time at the beach this summer. However it won't be total relaxation for her. 

"Unfortunately, or fortunately we have another event early January so I'm going to be training right through," she says. 

That tournament is the Tour of Champions in New York City.  King will not be short of motivation following her win in Hong Kong. 

"Once you've won a title, the confidence is high and the motivation is really high as well."

Her win in Hong Kong comes after her 8th appearance at the event. 

"It's nice to finally convert one of those into a win," she says. 

With the top 24 players in the world competing, it adds more to her win. 

"To test my self against those players and come out on top is pretty amazing achievement."

The victory tops off what has already been an great year for the 30-year-old.

She was the only person to compete every day of the Commonwealth Games in April, and won two gold medals and a bronze.

She also reached multiple finals matches throughout the year, winning in Cleveland in Feburary. 

The year culminated in Hong Kong, where she defeated world No. 1 Raneem El Welily in the final, extending her run of consecutive victories over the Egyptian to three. 

King joins fellow Māori player Leilani Rorani, Dame Susan Devoy and Evans as the only New Zealanders to win the prestigious tournament.

On Saturday night, King and Amanda Landers-Murphy (Te Ati Awa, Taranaki) were named Team of the Year at the Māori Sports Awards. 

King's coach, Glen Wilson, was on hand at the airport to present her with the Ika a Whiro award.

She says the awards highlighted the "amazing achievement by our Māori women" before saying their win was the "icing on the cake" for her and Lander-Murphy. 

"Our goal was to go and win gold and we did that and- just to be recognised by the wider community- it's a really nice feeling."


Joelle King with the Ika a Whiro award, and the Hong Kong Open cup. Photo/file

King will enjoy a short break away from the sport before competing in the Tour of Champions in late January and the World Championships in Chicago in February.