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‘A great time’ at first racket fest

ORGANISERS of the Gisborne Open Racketlon say they want to make it an annual stop on their national tour after a successful inaugural event.

Holly Shuja (nee Donnelly) and Jo Shanks, both formerly of Gisborne, shared the women's title after they each finished on 66 points and decided not to play a tie-break.

Racketlon combines table tennis, badminton, squash and tennis, with competitors playing in a first-to-21-points format for each discipline.

New Zealand Racketlon board member and event organiser Kashif Shuja said that after such a successful weekend, they now planned to hold the event as the opening round of their national tour each year.

“We just want to thank the local community and clubs,” Shuja said.

“It can be hard trying to tell people about it when they're not used to it, and they really embraced it.

“This will be an annual event on the first weekend of each year. The local feedback has been really good.”

The tournament was held in association with Gisborne Tennis Club, Badminton Eastland and Surf City Squash.

Surf City Squash president Daniel Newman said they saw the day as an opportunity for people to get a taste of all the different racket sports, with several divisions for different skill levels.

“It was really surprising to see some of the players who did well.

“Everyone had a great time and it will be hard not to have it again.”

In the men's division, No.1 seed Sion Wiggin took top honours, beating Kashif Shuja 78-63 in a hard-fought final.

Wiggin was one of several competitors who came from distant places to play in the event. He travelled from Auckland to compete.

Both local competitors in the top male division outperformed their seedings.

Badminton Eastland representative and C1-graded squash player Mark Beard finished fifth after coming into the tournament seeded eighth. Willz Donnelly, the eighth-best squash player in the country, was seeded seventh and finished sixth.

Doubles were also played over the weekend. In this discipline, pairs play together with the same Racketlon rules except for squash, where they each play half the match.

Results —

Men: Sion Wiggin (Auckland) 1, Kashif Shuja (Taupo) 2.

Women: Jo Shanks (Auckland) and Holly Shuja (Taupo) 1 equal.

Doubles: Sion Wiggin and Julian Main 1, Kashif Shuja and Adam Manunui 2.

Willz Donnelly
Jo Shanks
Nat Mackey
Mark Beard
Sion Wiggin
Dan Murphy
Gina Bailey
Julian Main
Trish Mackey
Jarrod Carter