Joelle King has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honours for service to squash.
King is currently the fourth ranked women’s player in the world.
King didn’t receive the letter informing her of her honour, as she was training overseas and it was sent to her old address.
“I think they were a little worried as to why I hadn’t replied, whether I was going to accept or not so someone called me from the government.”
King had a golden 2018 where she won her first PSA platinum event and picked up three medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
King, who is currently training in England, said there had probably been more hard times, than good times in her squash career.
“As an athlete there’s a lot of hard situations you go through.
“Obviously my injury was probably something that was a hard thing to come back from, but that actually turned into a bit of a positive so there’s definitely been a lot of downs and a lot of ups obviously as well so this is just something that is nice when you’re travelling the world to be recognised by your own country.
“That’s why this is pretty special and I think you realise when you actually come home and you see how excited people are to share your experiences good and bad with you so it’s a really nice way to finish 2018 and start off 2019,” King said.
King has played squash for 22 years now, having first picked up a racket at the age of eight. She said she played lots of sports before she decided that squash was going to be the one when she was 16.
She said people who had supported her had made a lot of sacrifices over the years so it was nice to get recognition.
King added hearing the anthem at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, when she became the first New Zealand woman to win a gold in squash singles, was a highlight.
“The first time for the singles was quite emotional, special just to know not only was I winning it but as the first female from New Zealand after having such a rich history of female players, the first one to actually get that gold for the singles was pretty special and to have my team and everyone there, it was a nice moment to share with them.”