“WHAT’S for dinner mum?”
Kylie Keegan didn’t expect this reaction from son Ryan Bushel-Keegan when she rang to tell him he had been selected to represent Australia next year.
“It took me by surprise,” she laughed.
“He really doesn’t like the attention, but now he’ll have to get used to it I think.”
Bushel-Keegan will don the green and gold as part of a two-man team to tackle the Trans-Tasman Test Squash Series, against New Zealand’s corresponding top two players, in Palm Beach in January.
The softly spoken 12-year-old said he can’t wait.
“I’m pretty excited, it’s my first time representing Australia,” Bushel-Keegan said.
Kylie explained a restructure of the junior age qualification rules had worked in Ryan’s favour.
“He was selected based on the national rankings. Ryan is currently ranked number one,” Kylie explained.
“They changed the age groups recently, and all the older guys had to go up which left Ryan at the top of under 13s.”
The age eligibility rules were changed recently and competitors must now be 12 or younger to compete in the under 13 division.
“Next year was supposed to be his big year in under 13s,” Kylie said. “Now all the older boys have moved up to under 15s so he gets his chance.”
Bushel-Keegan will be paired with Ethan Eyles, the son of 1997 World Squash Open champion Rodney Eyles, and Kylie said despite little knowledge of their opponents, both boys are confident.
“New Zealand are normally very strong,” she said.
“We don’t really know the 13s though, so they’re a bit of an unknown.
“But Ryan will get mentoring and coaching from the national coaches leading into it, and Ethan’s dad will coach him, but it’ll be a big learning curve. We’re expecting to do well though.”
Bushel-Keegan will also compete individually at the Oceania Junior Squash Championships following the TTTS.
“The Oceania’s promote the game and attract kids from all over the Asia Pacific region,” Kylie explained.
“Both competitions will be great experience for him.”