Ryan aims to be world No 1
By STEVE SPINKS
EVANS Head's Ryan Cuskelly wants to be one of the best squash players in the world.
The 18-year-old has just taken a massive step towards fulfilling that goal after being offered a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Cuskelly will take up the offer and move to Brisbane to be part of the program before Christmas.
"It's (the AIS) what I've been striving for, for the last couple of years," Cuskelly said.
"I just applied and I went down last week for three days of tests.
"They had a look at me and had seen how I had played at the Australian Juniors (Under-19s)."
The AIS scholarship is the culmination of years of hard work, not to mention the gamble of leaving his home town to attend school in Sydney.
Cuskelly just finished his Higher School Certificate at Narrabeen Sports High.
He left the comfort of his parents' home to move to Sydney to pursue his dreams and it wasn't easy.
The youngster held down three jobs, trained at least once a day and went to school, which left little time for anything else.
"I worked at a pizza place, the squash centre and a cargo place near the airport," Cuskelly said.
"It was pretty busy. But I always found time to go for surf."
Surfing is Cuskelly's other passion and moving to Brisbane not only means he will be closer to his parents on the Northern Rivers, but he will also be closer to his favourite break ... Main Beach at Evans Head.
The third ranked junior in Australia will start his commitments with the AIS almost immediately.
"We're flying to the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 2," Cuskelly said.
"It's the practice event before the Commonwealth Games.
"I'm only a junior so I won't get picked but it will be good experience."
While acknowledging that becoming the world number one will be tough, he doesn't shy away from the fact that he wants to be the best.
"I want to make it to the top and be a professional," Cuskelly said.
"Hopefully I'll be in the top five of the world one day.
"It'll be a few years before that happens though."
But Cuskelly knows what he wants and he's on the way.
Perhaps that day will be closer than he thinks.