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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Carlisle squash ace Victoria Bell breaks into world top 100

Carlisle squash pro Victoria Bell has forced her way into the top 100 in the world rankings – 18 months after she feared she would have to quit through injury.

Victoria Bell photo
Victoria Bell

The 22-year-old joined the Women’s Squash Association World Tour a year ago and has just returned to Carlisle after a successful month playing in tournaments in Brisbane, Australia. Bell reached two finals, a quarter-final and semi-final and her impressive performances have seen her go from 162 to 84 in the world rankings.

Her big aim now is to break into the top 20 and make sure she is at the peak of her powers if squash gains elevation to a new Olympic sport in time for the 2020 Games.

It is an incredible turnaround for Bell, who thought she might have to hang up her racket after a seven-year battle with tendonitis which forced her to undergo an operation on her knee.

The problem first flared up when she was playing on the junior circuit as a 14-year-old and became so bad she had to have bone and tendon removed two years ago.

But a difficult 14 months of rehabilitation raised concerns she may have to retire at the age of just 21.

“After the surgery things kept going wrong and it was a really long period of rehabilitation,” said Bell.

“It is frustrating seeing people I played with in the juniors who are higher ranked than me now and I’m on the back foot with everyone.

“But it is making me want to be successful even more and I’ve gone from 162 in the world to 84 after my comeback.

“I beat my seeding in every tournament in Australia, and hopefully by next month I will have gone up even higher again in the rankings.”

Bell is coached by her brother Paul Bell, the professional at Carlisle Squash Club, and will continue on the full-time circuit following her return from her spell in Brisbane.

She is now preparing for a tournament in Boston, Lincolnshire, over the weekend of December 8 and 9, and in Colwyn Bay just before Christmas.

But her sights are set firmly on making the Team GB squad for a future Olympics.

“There is a big debate about squash becoming an Olympic sport in 2020 so I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” said Bell.

“If squash was to be included, I would be 30 and at my peak in squash.”

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