A TALENTED local duo will soon be travelling to Delhi to represent their countries at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Professional squash player Sarah Kippax, who has links with Chester, has been chosen to represent England, and Andy Wyn Jones from Saltney has been selected for Wales’ eight-man boxing team in Delhi.
Brought up in Kelsall but now based in Halifax, Kippax, aged 27, has five England caps, is ranked 22 in the world and is the face of Dunlop.
She has won many professional tour titles including the Swedish Open and the Swiss Open, and when she is not travelling all over the world she visits Mum and Dad (Ali and Ian) after spending Saturday mornings helping to train young squash players at Winsford Lifestyle Centre.
There she sometimes links up with the man she regards as her ‘surrogate dad’, Reg Mather, who used to run the club and helped train Sarah from the age of 11.
“It all began when I picked up a racket from Reg and he put in a lot of time giving me individual lessons,” said Sarah.
“He always gave me a lot of encouragement and it’s really nice it has come full circle and I am able to give back to the sport myself, working with a group of kids who are as enthusiastic as I am and was at their age, with a real passion for squash.
“Squash is my whole life and I am very lucky that a hobby, and my passion, has resulted in my career, travelling across the world,” said Sarah who recently married her coach David Campion.
Reg who works at the Lifestyle Centre added: “I was fortunate to teach her to play squash and I ran the local squash club – now she has taken over from me!
“When she started playing you could see the talent she had and my work with her was my way of putting something back in the sport.
“She originally came to Winsford for swimming lessons before she took up squash and there came a time when she had reached the county standard in other sports, including netball and she had to decide which one to pick.
“As we all know now she chose squash and I am very proud of her accomplishments and having played a part in her love for the game.”
Sarah will travel to India for the Commonwealth Games in October competing in the singles event.
Cheshire West and Chester councillor, Bob Barton, whose ward of Winsford South and West includes the Lifestyle Centre said: “I would like to congratulate Sarah on her continuing success and wish her the very best for the Commonwealth Games.
“I am sure she is a great inspiration for the junior squash team she manages and is a wonderful example of a home-grown success story.”
Meanwhile, Deva Police ABC boxer Jones, claimed the WABA Super Heavyweight crown earlier this year for a record-breaking fifth year in a row.
Nicknamed ‘Hightower,’ due to his 6ft 4in frame, Jones defeated John Boland 18-10 in the WABA final to claim his place on the flight to Delhi.
The 27-year-old became the GB super heavyweight champion last year and Wales team bosses believe he has the potential to succeed.
Jones, who also enjoys mixed martial arts, is hoping the trip to India will help him become a household name.
“It’s possible I can go under the radar a bit up here in Flintshire,” he said. “But I’m always willing to travel because, when it comes to representing your country, you go to extra measures.
“It can be tough, but I think I have earned my chance.
“It is fantastic to think I will be going to Delhi. It has always been my aim to go to the Commonwealth Games and now it is a reality. There’s no reason why I can’t win a medal.”
Jones is joined in the Wales boxing team by Jermaine Asare, Darren Edwards, Fred Evans, Keiron Harding, Chris Jenkins, Sean McGoldrick and Andrew Selby.
After hanging up his gloves four years ago, Edwards from Cwmavon has returned to the ring and is bidding for a medal in Delhi.
It will be the 29-year-old lightweight boxer’s third Commonwealth Games appearance. He won a bronze in Melbourne 2006.
London 2012 prospect, Selby, aged 21, will compete in the bantamweight section, while Evans, 19, from Newport, fights in the welterweight class, and Jenkins, 21, of Cwmgors, near Ammanford, takes part in the light-welterweight category.
Ex-Swansea and Cardiff City football player – turned electrician – Asare, from Pontypridd, McGoldrick from Newport, and Harding from Bedlingo make up the Wales boxing team.
Team Wales National Coach Tony Williams said: “We did really well in the last Games in Melbourne 2006 and these boxers have a lot to live up to.”
Team Wales’ Chef de Mission Chris Jenkins said: “Boxing has a rich heritage in Wales and at the Commonwealth Games. It has consistently delivered medals – right back to Howard Winstone at the then Empire Games in Cardiff in 1958. We are really looking forward to Delhi and we welcome this eight-strong boxing team on board Team Wales.”
See full story in the Leader