“I don’t really train or play against my sister. She is a couple of years younger than me, but she is definitely getting better,” Corbin Faint says when asked about his sister's squash ability.
Annaleise refutes that claim and was motivated to play the sport because of Corbin’s success.
“We’re both really competitive and I was resentful of Corbin’s success. I decided to play to try and beat Corbin,” Annaleise laughs.
The fierce sibling rivalry has driven both to great heights. Corbin has been named captain of the New Zealand Secondary Schools team for the upcoming Trans-Tasman series, while Annaleise is ranked No.1 in the girls team for the series that takes place in Rorckhampton from 21-24 August.
Corbin has enjoyed previous success against the Aussies.
“I have played in two series where we play Queensland and New South Wales first before they combine to become Australia. I have won all of my matches and was captain last year, Corbin reflects.
Annaleise earned her National honours after helping Palmerston North Girls’ High School win their third consecutive National title. Girls' High didn't drop a single game at the tournament accounting for Napier Girls’ High School 5-0 in the final.
“Were really lucky to have a lot of depth. Our fourth and fifth seeds are really competitive with our top seeds. That isn’t the case in some of the other teams,” Annaleise acclaims.
Boys’ High matched their pre-tournament seeding and finished third at the boys tourney behind St. Paul’s Collegiate and Westlake Boys’ High School.
Corbin started squash at the behest of his uncle and achieved a major breakthrough when he won the Oceania under-15 title. Annaleise finished second at the National under-15 championships. Both have been well served by the same coaches, despite contrasts in their style.
Initially the pair was coached by Kashif Shuja, a five-time National champion who was ranked as high as 34th in the world. Shuja helped build fitness and a passion for the game. National high performance mentor Nick Mita has now taken over helping improve technical aspects of the Faint’s game.
“I’m a hustler and back myself to outlast my opponents. I enjoy working hard work,” Corbin says.
Annaleise prefers a more exuberant approach.
“I like short rallies and taking control of the point straight away. I like to be smarter than my opponents.”
The NZSSSA Trans-Tasman team for the upcoming series is:
Senior Boys:Lwamba Chileshe, Temwa Chileshe, Corbin Faint, Sean Dykes, Angus MacDonald, Glenn Templeton (Reserve)
Senior Girls: Annaleise Faint, Iyra Stewart, Taylor Clarke, Amy Hroscroft, Jess Dean, Amelia Wadsworth (Reserve)
Junior Boys: Elijah Thomas, Ben Tomlinson, Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist, Mason Smales, Sam Kelly, Devlin Gurr (Reserve)
Junior Girls: Anna O'Connor, Jena Gregory, Alex Harding, Katie Templeton, Sam Harding, Dileesia Henare (Reserve)
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