Ocean Ma and her sister Spring were only 10 years old when they were first introduced to squash in their hometown of Richmond, B.C.
Roughly six years later the 16-year-old twins are at the top of their game, seeded first and second in the country in their age group. As members of the Team B.C. squash team at the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games, they are definitely two key players to watch closely.
The Ma sisters credit their introduction to the games to their good friend Jacob Lin.
Lin, currently the top-seeded male squash player at the 2023 Canada Winter Games, was the first person to take them to a squash court.
“Jacob started very young and became a great player,” Ocean said. “He got us into the sport. When he led us to a squash court and we played for the first time we both just knew this was a sport we wanted to play, it was so much fun.”
They’ve worked hard to get to where they are now. “We started very late,” Ocean said. “Starting at eleven is very late compared to the other two girls on our team. They started when they were much younger. We had a lot to catch up on. We worked really hard and pushed each other, and then eventually we caught up to everyone else.”
She said they both know that if they had not pushed each other as hard as they did they wouldn’t be here at the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games today. Spring said the fact they have pushed each other so hard to improve their game proved very beneficial when Covid struck.
“During COVID when everything was locked down Ocean and I would still compete with each other, still push each other,” Spring said. Because the squash courts were closed for several months they were forced to improvise. “We drove around the city and looked for school walls that had corners at 90 degrees that we could hit balls against,” Spring said.
Because of that they had less downtime than other players and as a consequence, their game really began to improve very quickly so when the pandemic lifted and they returned to competitive play they began winning national events. People really began to take notice.
They kept up the hard work and eventually reached the point where Ocean is now ranked as the number one female player in her age group and Spring is ranked number two. Their love of the sport continues to grow.
“We love the sport because the people who play it all have such passion for it,” Ocean said. “We know it’s a smaller sport compared to say tennis, but everyone loves the sport and everyone is so invested in it. We love watching the pros play because they inspire us, we love hearing our coaches talk about past events, past competitions, we love traveling the world to play in different competitions.”
Both sisters hope at some point to go pro and play on the PSA ( Professional Squash Association) tour. There are several hundred PSA events each year.
There are also hopes of playing varsity squash in the U.S. when they graduate from high school. And if squash is ever welcomed into the Olympics they would like to play for Canada.