Dylan Molinaro has secured a ticket to the big squash events at this year’s Commonwealth Games.
In four years time, he wants to turn that spectator ticket into a player pass.
“I’d like to make it to the Commonwealth Games as a player,” Molinaro said.
Molinaro is a youngster on the up in the squash world.
The immensely talented 15-year-old has taken his game to the international stage and shown that it stands up against the best.
Molinaro went to the Oceania Junior Championship in Queensland as an unseeded outsider, but returned with a podium finish.
The Williamstown resident knocked off the seventh and top seeds en route to a win in the under-17 boys third place play-off.
“This tournament was a real step up in class,” Molinaro said. “It was an international tournament and I played against players from all over the Oceania region. I was a bit nervous when I played the higher seeds, but I was confident that I could win.”
Molinaro, a member of the Kooyong squash team, turned heads when he brought down top-seeded compatriot Remi Young.
After easily accounting for Fiji’s Saneel Chhaganlal and taking out Australian seventh seed Joshua Penfold, Molinaro went into the clash against Young full of confidence.
Having faced Young on the court previously, Molinaro knew his strengths and sought about ways to exploit his weaknesses.
“I knew how he played and my coach, Terry White, sort of helped me out with it,” Molinaro said. “He knows how these guys play as well, so it was beneficial to my game.”
Molinaro possesses a dangerous game of his own – and he works hard every day to keep bettering his strengths.
So while the Westbourne Grammar School student is well coached and can read and react to opponents, he is also pro-active on court.
“I like to play at the front of the court and use my drop shot and short game to bring them in,” he said. “You’ve got to be pretty quick, pretty fast … you’ve got to be that split second faster than them.”
Molinaro’s quest for the Oceania title came to an end at the semi-final stage, losing to Malaysia’s Kerwin Teh in three games.
Molinaro admits that Teh outplayed him, but is eager for a re-match.
“If I were to play him again, I’d try to control the pace, control the rallies and play my game,” he said.
Molinaro, who was a runner-up at the Australian Junior Championships, is dreaming big. He is working hard in a bid for a scholarship at an ivy league school in the US and wants to turn professional.
It will be another big year for Molinaro in 2018, with the goal being to win titles at the Victorian Open and the Australian Junior Championships.
Of course, he will be cheering on the Australians at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, too.
Molinaro is the February nominee for the Don Deeble Rising Star award.
The award, hosted by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and
Star Weekly, recognises young athletes from the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at state and or national levels.
Molinaro will receive $1000 and other prizes, donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club to assist him in achieving his sports goals.