Bega Open won by Swiss star

PSA: Bega Open major sponsor John Stylianou and former world number one Geoff Hunt congratulate finalists Josh Larkin and Dimitri Steinmann.
PSA: Bega Open major sponsor John Stylianou and former world number one Geoff Hunt congratulate finalists Josh Larkin and Dimitri Steinmann.

Two-time Bega Squash Open champion Josh Larkin was pipped by a Swiss entrant on Sunday. 

It was Dimitri Steinmann’s maiden victory on the PSA circuit with the Switzerland resident downing Australian favourite Larkin in three close games. 

However, Larkin had won the two lead-up PSA tournaments in recent weeks. 

Officials said the final was a highlight in an exciting that had grown from last year’s iteration and drew in players from even further abroad. The growth of the Open also meant the Bega round was now a promising prospect for highly ranked players, including some strong guests. 

“On hand to present trophies was Australian squash legend, Geoff Hunt, MBE who is widely considered to be one of the greatest squash players in history,” a spokeswoman for the club said. 

“He was ranked the World’s number one squash player from 1975 to 1980 and he won the World Open title four times.”

A number of the visiting players also took part in the Tarra Motors Bega Open, making for a hotly contested final of the state division. 

Canberra formed one of the strongest contingents, while there were also entries from Cooma and Bombala taking part. 

The overall winner was one of Mr Hunt’s students –  Syed Azlan Amjad from Qatar over Indian hopeful Guhan Senthilkumar.

Gudrun Stylianou said the tournament was blessed with great weather and the level of competition was even higher than last year. 

“These guys play literally all across the world and here they were in Bega,” she said. “It was a fantastic event and it was great to watch some of the games.”

A number of Bega Squash Club members billeted the players in their homes for the tournament, which Gudrun said made the players like members of the community for the week. 

It also led to some fantastic feedback. 

“Some of the players said it was the best tournament they’ve played in,” Gudrun said. “They might just say that to every organiser,” she adds with a laugh.

“But you think if they weren’t impressed they would tell you.”

Visitors included players from Japan, Belgium, Switzerland, Qatar and Great Britain for the week and organisers were now buzzing.

“For us it’s like when kids come home from the circus, we’re pumped but have to wait a year to do it all again.”

A grade was where the locals really started to shine with Luke Donnelly finishing runner-up to Canberran Riley Ellis. 

Third went to Clint Jamieson with young gun Alexander Eadie claiming the plate. 

Another Canberra visitor featured in the top women’s draw with Hannah Smith heading up the ladies competition. 

Runner-up after a closely fought final was Bega player Leanne Crowe, while Chloe Harlow claimed third.