More than just a game
Teenager Asia Harris is one of the rising stars of English squash. We caught up with the current British National under 15 champion to find out where her love for the game comes from, her mindset heading into 2021, and why she believes Black History Month can promote equality across the country.
To Asia Harris, squash is more than just a game.
“Playing squash has given me self-belief,” explained Asia.
“Before I started playing properly, I never believed in myself. I’ve become so strong-minded and focussed that I no long get distracted.
“Most of all though, squash has given me independence. I do so many things now that people never thought I would do.”
After picking up a squash racket at the age of six, Asia found herself besotted by a sport that has now become a major part of her life.
And the 15-year-old who hails from Pontefract, believes that squash is a sport that can provide a number of benefits.
“Squash is a very sociable sport,” said Asia.
“I like making new friends – I’ve made so many as a result, both British and international.
“The sport is so competitive which gives me the opportunity to thrive – I love having a good battle with my friends too!”
When Asia won the Dunlop English Junior Championship Under 17 title back in March, she could have never predicted how 2020 would become unparalleled for people across the UK.
But she admits that the enforced separation has only made her love for squash grow.
“The year has made me realise how much I love squash.
“Getting back on court felt like a real blessing. I played the day after the courts reopened and it felt like I’d never been off it.”
“Since I stepped back on court, I’ve become so much more focussed – I’m training harder than ever before. I’m now working hard on my technique and movement around the court. I’ve got to make these training sessions as physical as possible as if I was playing a game to keep my motivation on the right track.”
Despite her age, Asia already possesses an impressive array of accomplishments including the European Under 17 title, two British Junior titles and two national titles. Alongside her impressive 2019 titles at the Cologne Open and Dutch Open, the teenager has also represented England.
And as she looks forward to 2021, there are plenty of accolades and honours that the budding superstar wants to achieve.
“One of the titles I’d really like to get my hands on is the British Junior Open.
“To win that would take a lot of grit and determination but I’m willing to put in that effort.
“I just can’t wait for tournaments to commence. I love competing and that’s what I thrive on – I love being pushed to the max.”
Across October, Black History Month is an event that has been celebrated for more than 30 years nationwide.
Asia believes that Black History Month is something that should be championed to everyone across the UK in an effort to provide better education around the struggles facing black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
“Black History Month is such a big month for me. It’s a chance to celebrate the achievements of influential black men and women,” said Asia.
“The Black Lives Matter campaign has highlighted the difficulties that black people routinely face. Everybody should be equal in their own way and this month is an opportunity to speak up and make everybody aware that being black is totally normal and inspiring.
“I am a mixed African and I’m very proud of my heritage. I am going to work as hard as I can to be the best to make both my black and white ancestors proud of me.”