Whanganui's Aria Bannister has franked her selection to the national development squad by successfully defending her Girls' Under 13 title at the South Island Age Group Squash Championships in Invercargill.

The Whanganui Intermediate 12-year-old student went into the championship as No 1 seed in her grade, defeating all her opponents 3/0 to retain her title.

This is her last year in the age division and follows up on her recent fourth placing at the North Island junior championships in Hamilton.

Bannister is a B grade player in the senior ranks, a phenomenal achievement for one so young and is part of the Squash New Zealand Development Squad system that has her attend national training camps throughout the year.


Her big goal for the squash season is the NZ Junior champs where, all going well, she should receive a top-three seeding at the Christchurch Club in early October.

Bannister and her family moved back to New Zealand a few months ago from the Gold Coast in Australia where her dad Rod Bannister ran the Squash Australia High Performance Centre.

The young Bannister was picked up in the National Junior Training system there, as well as swimming out of the very strong Southport School Club.

Bannister is also a New Zealand national level swimmer out of the Whanganui club, winning her breaststroke event at the AIMS Games in Tauranga last year.