ON THE BALL – COLETTE SULTANA

Colette Sultana started playing squash at the age of nine at the Marsa Sports Club in 2004. She became the Under 13 Malta National Champion in 2006 and also won the U13 event in 2007. She was the Under 19 Malta National Champion from 2008 to 2014, but when she turned 19 in 2014, she could no longer participate in junior competitions. She’s been the Malta Ladies National Champion since 2012 (five years in a row so far).

She’s represented Malta in a number of individual competitions, winning the Gold medal in the Italian, Spanish, Irish and Luxembourg Junior Opens. She’s also won the gold medal as part of the Ladies National Team in the Small Nation Games of 2009 and the European Team Championships Division 3 in 2013. Colette also participated in the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 2014 in the singles and doubles events. She achieved a highest World Ranking of 92 in the World in February 2017 (Professional Squash Senior Rankings).

At the age of 16, she left Malta and moved to the UK where she attended sixth form at Millfield School. Whilst at this sports school, Colette was able to train for several hours everyday, and she improved a lot during her two years there. Whilst at Millfield School, she played on the girls’ team, and won the National Schools Championships in 2012 and 2013. At Columbia University, Colette played as number one during her first and second year. She got injured in her third year, but after recovering, she managed to obtain All American Honours in her fourth year. Other awards that she’s won whilst playing on the Columbia University Squash Team are Most Valuable Player, All-Ivy First Team Honours and the Scholar Athlete Award.

 

Date of Birth: 25th June, 1995

Location: Originally from Zabbar, but now living in New York

Star Sign: Cancer

Occupation: Student and Squash Player

So, why squash and not any other sport?

A few of my family members used to play squash, and there was an open day at the Marsa Sports Club, so I decided to try it out in October 2004. I really enjoyed it and started practicing once a week. My coach at the time said that if I trained regularly, I could get better and start to represent Malta in competitions abroad, so I started practicing about three or four times a week, and I improved enough to start playing in events abroad. My first event was in Vienna in March 2007, where I finished in fourth place.

 

If you had to meet any other athlete, who would it be and what would you talk about?

I really enjoy watching football, especially growing up in Malta where it’s very popular. As a little girl, I loved watching the Brazilian football team and I think if I were to meet someone like Ronaldinho, I’d be very excited. To me, it would be interesting to learn how someone like him made it through to the top. He’s obviously a very talented athlete, but it also must have been tough growing up in Brazil where there are thousands of football players all trying to take the few spots there are on the best teams. I’d also be interested in learning about the lifestyle, especially as players like this become famous. I’m sure their life changes as they lose privacy and become icons of the world.

What’s your general perception of the local sports field?

I think that the local sports field has grown a lot, and I enjoy seeing initiatives taken to increase the awareness of the importance of sports in our lives. The National Sports School has been a great initiative that’s promoted sport specialisation and sports practice, also during school time. I still think, however, that there are some sports which are given a lot of attention, and others (like squash) that are still not talked about or regarded as important as other sports. The only way for a sport to gain popularity is through it being publicised, and I think that squash has a long way to go in this regard.

Is fashion an important part of your life?

I wouldn’t say I’m the most fashionable person, however, during a competition, I definitely try to plan my outfits and go with the latest trends. I love shopping for sports clothes and colour coordinating my outfits, especially if I know that the match will be on television or that a lot of people will be watching.

If any of my readers were interested in trying to break into squash, what would you recommend they’d start with?

I would recommend having a go with friends to try it out and to see if you enjoy it. There are places in Malta you can play without being a member (like the University of Malta), so that’s where I would start. If it’s something you start enjoying and want to pick up, a few lessons here and there would definitely help. Also, becoming a member of the Malta Squash Association will give you entry to some of the clubs in Malta and will also enable you to play in the National Squash League, which is really fun. The more you play/practice the better you’ll get!