Canowindra's Rohan Toole has staked a claim as one of Australia's best squash players taking out third place at the National Men's Championships on the Gold Coast at the start of the month.
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Toole who is ranked 6th in Australia was one of 16 players competing at Carrara Squash Centre and was pleased with his result.
"Yeah it was good, it was the first time I've played in that event because it hasn't run for a few years," he said.
"Only the top 16 players get in so it was a pretty good draw and tournament to compete in as well as a good result.
"So I was stoked to come third, I was on a good side of the draw to which helped me out, but to come third at nationals I was very happy with that," he said.
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Toole said he was looking forward to returning to the Central West for the Forbes Open from March 13 to March 15.
He said tournaments, like the one in Forbes, give him a chance to catch up with friends and family.
"I always try and play the tournaments back there (in the Central West), so I get a chance to get home and see everyone," he said.
"Especially in squash people know me and seen me play all throughout my career.
"These tournaments are massive, when I was 13, 14, 15 and starting to play the adult tournaments I still remember the matches played by the guys that game out from Sydney, who I play with now.
"I don't forget being a kid and watching these guys thinking 'how can you be that good?'," he said.
Toole said the tournaments were not only important to the communities that hosted them but the sport itself.
"It's really good for the town and the squash community because it's a chance for them to see professional squash and the top players from their clubs playing against them.
"We did have a downturn in participation in the last 10 years because the real estate was worth too much to run courts on and a lot of people sold the private centres.
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"But it's now coming back, especially in the Central West, there's heaps and heaps of players. It's more popular than ever in the country areas compared to the city.
"Where I'm at in Sydney, we are getting busier and busier all the time with new players and more people knowing about the game. So it's inevitable it's going to come back up in popularity.
"We are trying to break down that niche sport mentality and compete with those sports considered more mainstream," he said.
Toole encouraged those interested in the sport to come along to their local tournaments.
"Definitely try and get out to the Forbes open," he said.
"There's also the Bathurst Open to support and Parkes have a doubles tournament that's pretty massive. Come have a look and see what the game is like and get the word out."
Toole will now be heading to New Zealand for the Auckland Open and said he was looking forward to the competition.
"It's always good to head overseas to get exposed to more players, it's a different kind of pressure when you travel overseas and play," he said.
"You always want to do your best and the competitions I do play are usually all internationals, so this is the same competition in a different place.
"My main goal in 2020 is to improve my ranking this year, to get inside the top 200 (globally), then reassess at the end of the year and go again," he said.
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