Harb, Iwaasa win silver at World racquetball finals

Los Angeles, Calif. – Coby Iwaasa of Lethbridge, Alta. is World Junior Champion in Boy’s 16 and under, winning the title Saturday (Nov.17) at the 24th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Racquetball Championships in Los Angeles, California. Iwaasa defeated Costa Rican Andreas Acuña in the final, 15-11, 15-13.

Iwaasa had a chance to do be a double gold medalist, as he and Sami Harb (Burlington) were in the Boy’s 16 and under doubles final. However, they fell to the Mexican team of Rodrigo Montoya and Francisco Javier Mar Garcia, 15-8, 15-12. So, Iwaasa will come home with two medals: gold in singles and silver in doubles.

He did so last year also, when he was a bronze medalist in singles and doubles in Boy’s 14 and Under.
Iwaasa is the second Canadian to win the 16 and Under title after Kris Odegard (Saskatoon) in 1997 and the first Canadian boy to win a World Junior title since 2000 when Eric Desrochers won in the 14 & under category. Odegard went on to win the Canadian National title twice, so Iwaasa’s win bodes well for his future.

The win also gives Canada gold medals in singles in consecutive years, as Frédérique Lambert (Montreal) won the Girl’s 18 and under title last year.

Iwaasa turned 16 this year so he’ll be eligible for the 16 and under division again next year, as the IRF rules stipulate the players’ eligibility age for World Juniors is what they were on Jan. 1st of the year of competition. Iwaasa will still be 16 on January 1, 2013.

Canada’s other medalist in the World Cup competition was In Girl’s 16 and under, where Michèle Morissette of Baie Comeau, Que. was a bronze medalist. That follows up her bronze medal from last year’s World Junior Championship.

There were also competitions for younger players (called the Esprit Cup) and for non-Junior Team players (called the Challenger Cup), and Canadians did well in those also.

In Girl’s 10 and under, Grace Killins of Vancouver was a bronze medalist in singles and a bronze medalist in doubles with partner Abby Drury of Saskatoon.

In Boy’s 16 and under in the Challenger Cup competition, Nicolas Bousquet (Montreal) and Michael Leduc (Valleyfield, Que.) were gold medalists in doubles, and Connor Culhane of Coquitlam, B.C. was a bronze medalist in singles.

In Boy’s 18 and under doubles in the Challenger Cup competition, Sebastien Juteau (Boucherville, Que.) and Matthew Swaine (Etobicoke.) were gold medalists.