Belfast girl Emma relishes 'once in a lifetime' chance at World Junior Squash Championships
An east Belfast teenager has described her selection to represent Ireland in the World Junior Squash Championships in Malaysia as a "once in a lifetime opportunity".
Emma McGugan (17) has been supported by Lighthouse Communications to travel to Kuala Lumpur for the tournament this summer.
Emma, who is a Lower Sixth student at Strathearn School, will be one of two girls from Northern Ireland to join the four-strong Ireland team.
Emma, who is also an accomplished tennis player and Irish dancer, said: "To qualify, I had to be one of the top ranked girls in my age group, and when I realised I was to be included in the Ireland squad for Malaysia, I was speechless.
"Going to Malaysia for the championships will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. To get to this stage, I have had so much support and encouragement.
"I really have to pay tribute to the very strong network around me including Ulster Squash and my family.
"My coach, Graeme Stewart, is a former squash professional, and Colin Shields, owner of Total Performance Fitness is my strength and conditioning coach, while I've also been privileged to work with Alexandra Fuller - a South African professional squash player. They've all been a huge influence on me."
As for Ireland's chances at the championships, Emma added: "All eyes will be on leading teams from places like Egypt and England, but I think we can certainly go out there and achieve."
Alyson English, director at Lighthouse Communications, added: "Many congratulations go to Emma on her inclusion in the Ireland squad for the World Junior Championships in Malaysia.
"We wish her and her team-mates all the very best for the tournament and a bright future in the sport."