Flying visit puts Jacob up against world's best
COFFS Harbour squash player Jacob Ford touches down in Edinburgh this morning ready for the biggest challenge of his thriving young career.
The 17-year-old is about to spend the next fortnight in the United Kingdom where he'll be competing first in the Scottish Junior Open before taking on the biggest junior squash tournament on the globe, the British Junior Open.
The massive event in Birmingham will feature 700 players, every one of them one of the most talented players in their country.
The Coffs Harbour High student is expecting the unexpected as he's about to come up against a string opponents he knows next to nothing about.
"If I come up against one of the top seeds I've just got to do my best and try my hardest because I'm not going to know how well I go against them unless I put my full effort into it," Ford said.
His confidence is high after a string of great results in 2017.
"I think I'm in peak form right now to be going over because I'm stronger and fitter than ever," he said.
"The last year I've been training the hardest I've ever trained.
"I started the year off in January at nationals, where I won when I probably wasn't expected to win it even though I was getting up there.
"That was a huge win for me and that gave me a bit of confidence for the next tournaments when I was selected for the Australian team to go to Worlds in New Zealand."
When the right-hander boarded the plane yesterday he was all alone.
While in Edinburgh he'll be billeting with a local family and staying with some Kiwis during the British Junior.
Being a teenager on your own overseas can be daunting, but Ford believes the experience he's had this year travelling to a lot of tournaments on his own will hold him in good stead.
"It's scary but I'm looking forward to going over," he said.
"It should be good to see a different country that's pretty much on the other side of the world.
"The last year I've been doing most of the travel in Australia by myself anyhow but this one is the other side of the world so it's a bit different.
"I'm not even close to anybody that I know very well."
One familiar face waiting for him on Skype will be his coach Peter Saxby, ready to discuss each match the youngster plays during this busy time.
Ford's busy schedule will continues when he returns to home shores.
He'll have hardly got rid of any jet lag before he hits the courts on the Gold Coast for the Oceania under-19 championships, which is followed by the Australian Junior Open being played at Nerang. These two events go a long way toward selection in the Australian team for the World Junior Championships, which are being held in Chennai next year.