Victoria squash player Bunyan named to Pan Am Games team – Times Colonist

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Nicole Bunyan of Victoria continues building her multi-sport Games resume with every whiplash stroke of her squash racquet. The St. Michaels University School graduate was named Wednesday to Canada’s team for the 2023 Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile.
That follows her appearances in the B.C. Games, Canada Games and 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The New York-based touring and teaching pro began playing at the Victoria Squash Club on Cook Street, under coaches Stuart Dixon and Mike Johnson, before playing in the Ivy League at Princeton.
“Stuart taught me the love of the game and creativity and Mike about discipline and fitness,” Bunyan has told the Times Colonist.
“I tried it once or twice a week on a casual basis. Then I won my first tournament and thought I can be OK at this. When it came time to choose at age 14 in Victoria, I chose squash over soccer.”
Bunyan excelled on the squash courts and in the classrooms at Princeton, where she studied biology and French: “It was hard to get in, and hard once there, but it was so fulfilling.”
Bunyan, however, will not advance beyond the Commonwealths and Pan Ams in the Games multiverse because squash is not an Olympic sport. Not that the 29-year-old, No. 2 in women’s singles in 2022, has lacked in multi-sport Games experiences.
Since many of the best squash players in the world are from the Commonwealth, Bunyan quipped about the Birmingham Games last year: “This is our Olympics.”
Joining world No. 45-ranked woman Bunyan on the Canadian team is world No. 19 Hollie Naughton of Mississauga, Ont., who won women’s singles and mixed bronze medals at the 2019 Lima Pan Am Games and became the first Canadian woman to medal in the Commonwealth Games with silver at Birmingham 2022. World No. 18 Danielle Letourneau of Calgary, who won Pan Am Games silver in women’s doubles at Lima 2019, was also named to the squad for Santiago. The Canadian men’s squash team in Chile will consist of David Baillargeon of Montreal, George Crowne of Oakville, Ont., and Graeme Schnell of Calgary.
“Our team is deep with experience and knows how to medal,” said Squash Canada manager of athlete development, Samantha Cornett, in a statement.
“Canada’s squash athletes will be looking to bring home golds in Santiago for Canada. Our top athletes will be well into the 2023-24 season and ready for the Games.”
The 2023 Pan Am Games, in Southern Hemisphere spring, run from Oct. 20 to Nov. 5 in Santiago.
Bunyan will be among the more than 60 Island or Island-based athletes who will compete in the 2023 Santiago Pan Am Games across all sports. Island athletes won 17 medals in the 2019 Lima Pan Am Games, 20 medals, including 13 gold, at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games and 21 medals at the 2011 Guadalajara Pan Am Games.
cdheensaw@timescolonist.com
© 2023 Times Colonist

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Originally posted 2023-09-01 19:30:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter