King Withdraws from NZ Open due to injury

Coll Triumphs at Home, Fiancée Nele Gilis Takes Women’s Title

The New Zealand Squash Open has seen a fairytale finish with Paul Coll winning the Men’s Open and Nele Gilis, who is engaged to Coll, winning the Women’s Open.  

For world number three Coll it was a maiden New Zealand Open title, as he defeated England’s Marwan Elshorbagy in straight games.

Contesting the final in front of a pumped-up home crowd at Tauranga’s Mercury Arena, the pair played great squash from the outset, moving up the court to play an attacking game.

In the end Coll was too good at the front of the court, taking the pace off the ball to great effect, with the Greymouth local winning in straight games.

“That felt so good, the atmosphere today was wicked, I’ve got so many family and friends here that I didn’t even know were coming. I was very happy to do it in three and ecstatic to finally get my name on the NZ Open trophy,” said Coll.

“It’s crazy to have Nele win as well, I really wanted that double win for us. I’m super proud of her, the performance she put in tonight shows real strength of character.

“It’s been a full-on schedule lately but having the support of family and friends here has been amazing so hopefully we can carry this on for another week as we do the World Men’s Teams Championship.”

Result: Coll beat Elshorbagy 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (42m)

Earlier, in the final of the Barfoot and Thompson Women’s Open final, Nele Gilis (Belgium), took on her sister Tinne.

It was a nail-biting contest early, with the sisters involved in long rallies from the back of court.

Nele was ultimately the more composed of the pair, pulling away after a tight first game to win comfortably in three games.

“This feels absolutely amazing in front of almost a home crowd, I couldn’t have wished for a better event and now I’m really looking forward to enjoying the rest of my time in New Zealand,” said Gilis.

Nele Gilis beat Tinne Gilis 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (51m)

The finals concluded the New Zealand Open, with the WSF Men’s World Teams Championship to begin on Monday December 11th.

The Championship will be held in Tauranga and features four athletes from each of the 24 competing nations. The draw includes eight of the top ten male athletes in the world.

Commonwealth Games Singles & Mixed Doubles Champion Paul Coll headlines the New Zealand team, joined by brothers Temwa and Lwamba Chileshe, as well as young Auckland athlete Elijah Thomas.