Jamie Oakley is on a serious role at the moment. The son of squash great Dame Susan Devoy is the number one ranked U19 squash player in New Zealand. He has just returned from Tahiti where he won the Tahiti Open U19 title.
“It was tough event. It was played over 10 days and involved 64 players. I beat a guy from El Salvador in the final,” Oakley says.
In April the 18-year-old gave himself the perfect birthday present as he beat Scott Galloway from Wellington 9/11, 14/12, 11/9 and 11/9 to claim the New Zealand Junior Boys’ Open title.
Galloway has been a long-time and respected opponent.
“Scott has been one of the leading juniors for a long time. It’s always a tough match when I play him,” Oakley admits.
Jamie started playing when he was six or seven. He insists he had “no pressure from my parents to play,” but in a family of high achievers it was inventible some competitive sport would be tackled.
Older brothers Julian and Josh are on scholarships at leading American universities. Julian is running for Providence in Texas. He is a former National Secondary Schools 800/1500m title holder while Josh is playing squash for Hobart University in New York. His father John is an A grade squash player.
Jamie had a decorated career at Tauranga Boys’ College. He was a member of three teams that won the National Secondary Schools title from 2012 to 2014. Oakley recalls his high school years fondly.
“The Nationals are a team event and I was lucky to play with some great blokes. I think my favourite title was the one we won in Year 13. We weren’t the top seeds, but managed to take it out. I also played a bit of cricket and basketball at school.”
Oakley is currently ranked 451st in the world. The quickest way to rise in the world rankings is to collect points in PSA events. To be eligible for points you must have played eight events. There are only six PSA events which means a lot of fundraising and travel. Oakley was runner up at the Canada Open and says he receives “incredible support.”
In August Oakley will be supporting the New Zealand team at the Junior World Championships in Poland. The event is held every two years and Egypt have won the last three championships which were hosted by Christchurch in 1994 and Palmerston North in 2006. The World Junior Championships have long been a stepping stone to adult success since the first championship took place in 1980: The current Egyptian world number ones are both double World Junior Individual title winners – Mohamed Elshorbagy in 2008 and 2009, and Raneem El Welily the women’s champion in 2005 and 2007.
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