Posted: 3 months ago

Hannah Craig on her Mary Peters Trust-aided journey from Harlequins to Harvard and onto the US Professional Squash tour

EVERY MONTH, A YOUNG MARY PETERS TRUST ATHLETE SPELLS OUT HOW THE CHARITY IS AIDING THE PURSUIT OF THEIR SPORTING DREAMS

HANNAH CRAIG (SQUASH)

HANNAH’S squash journey commenced at the tender age of 5 at Belfast Harlequins, her local rugby club. Amid a diverse array of sports in her youth, she gradually honed her focus on squash during her early teens.

In 2013, Hannah received the Rainbow Communications Sports Bursary in collaboration with the Mary Peters Trust, marking the beginning of a journey enriched by multiple Mary Peters’ funding awards. Supported by the Trust, she proudly represented Ireland at the 5 Nations and European Team Championships that year, experiencing elite-level squash for the first time that fuelled her passion for intensified training and competition.

Hannah then went on to win four Irish Junior National championships across the U15, U17, and U19 age brackets, as well as the 2017 Irish Senior National Championships. Her triumphs extended to the European stage, securing victories at the Swiss Junior Open U17 and the French Junior Open U19, propelling her to a peak European ranking of number 2 at U19 level and catching the attention of U.S. college coaches.

At just 17, Hannah earned admission to Harvard University in the US, where she showcased her prowess on the college squash scene. Boasting an undefeated record of 41-0, she captained the 2021-22 Harvard women’s team to victory, and helped the team secure three National championships and three Ivy League championships. Individually, she triumphed at the Holleran Cup West Individual College Championships, attaining All-American status.

In the summer of 2023, Hannah embarked on a momentous journey as she ventured into her inaugural season on the Professional Squash tour. Marking a compelling start to her campaign, she won two professional satellite tournaments in North America. Increasing in confidence, she advanced to the quarter and semi-finals of larger events, ultimately culminating in a notable runner-up finish at the Costa Rica Open in November 2023. Her current ranking now stands 288 places higher than she started at number 91.

Hannah’s remarkable rise on the professional squash circuit is underscored by her victories against formidable opponents ranked within the top 60 in the world. In a recent highlight, she secured her second consecutive Irish Senior National Championships with an unparalleled feat — not dropping a single game throughout the entire tournament.

As the anticipation builds towards the Olympic debut of squash in Los Angeles 2028, Hannah finds herself at the forefront of a pivotal moment in her career. With the prospect of Olympic competition on the horizon, she stands poised and ready to seize the opportunities that lie ahead, adding an extra layer of significance to her already exciting journey in the world of professional squash. Inspired by the indomitable spirit of Mary Peters, Hannah expresses profound gratitude for the unwavering support she has received, a guiding force that has been instrumental in shaping her path to success.

Hannah receives her Rainbow Communications Sports Bursary in collaboration with the Mary Peters Trust

Hannah (right) and her Harvard team