Tanai’s in top 20

A proud Tanai O'Brien on her first day at the camp

A proud Tanai O'Brien on her first day at the camp

It’s hard to wipe the smile off of Tanai O’Brien’s face, after the four days she spent at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra.

Getting all the gear: Tanai O’Brien wanted to buy everything in the store to make sure she had plenty of souvenirs from the Australian Institute of Sport.

Getting all the gear: Tanai O’Brien wanted to buy everything in the store to make sure she had plenty of souvenirs from the Australian Institute of Sport.

Tanai was invited to take part in the High Performance program run by Squash Australia over the school holidays that brought together 20 juniors from the under 13 age group right through to the under 19s.

As she is currently ranked fourth in Australia for under 13s, Tanai was among the eight players invited in her age group from around the country.

They trained from Wednesday, January 18 until Saturday, January 21 from 9am until 8pm.

The players trained on court every day, undertook demanding physical sessions and had access to the best strength and conditioning facilities.  

On the second last day, Tanai explained how they had to sprint 100 metres 15 times with a 30 second break in between. They then had a four minute rest before they had to do it all over again.

“That was tiring,” she sighed.

They also had access to national junior coaches who provided advice and expertise.

“It was awesome. I met a lot of Australian coaches who have taught a lot of the high ranking players,” Tanai smiled.

The players also spent time in the recovery pools; one was 10 degrees (similar to an ice bath), one was over 40 degrees and the third was normal temperature.

“We had to sit in the cold one for a certain amount of time,” she said.

It was all part of the intensive training regime for high level athletes. 

Tanai did admit she enjoyed the hot pool much better than the ice cold one.

This was the first time Tanai has been to the AIS training camp, although she has been to several State training camps over the past two to three years.

Tanai is currently in the eligibility pool where the players for the Australian team are chosen from.

If she’s selected to be on the national junior squad, there are two tournaments she could play in over the next six months; the World Junior Championship held in New Zealand in July and the Trans-Tasman Challenge held in Queensland in August.