BEING the Fiji number one squash player for the past three years has prompted Justin Ho to set higher goals in the New Year.
The 22-year-old only took up the sport seven years ago and four years down the line he claimed the number one tag from former champion Warren Yee.
Now Justin is trying move up another notch. The goal is to become Fiji's first world ranked player.
To achieve this, he will have to compete in accredited world ranking tournaments.
It is a big ask for anyone from Fiji where squash remains an amateur sport.
However Justin remains adamant of realising his dream.
Squash was never his major sport while growing up as he had a passion for soccer.
He was even selected in the Fiji under-17 squad while attending Tilak High School.
Justin was introduced to squash by his late mother Elisabeth Ho who used to run the restaurant at the Northern Club in Lautoka.
Squash enthusiast Teddy Matailevu then took Justin under his wings and finetuned his skills.
That was the start of the grooming of a national champion.
"My mother bought me my first squash shoes and racket in 2005," Justin said.
"But my first win came after one year in Suva at the Victoria Courts. It was the Fiji Junior National Championship. I beat Talei Matailevu who was a top junior player.
"I felt so excited to have won that day. I remember that I was so scared to play Talei in the final I was just telling myself to think positive all the way until the last point.
"It was no matter win or lose because what's worse than losing at the end is being defeated in your mind before it starts. I was so excited and couldn't wait to tell my family at home especially my mother."
Justin's quick rise in the sport saw him being selected in the Fiji team for the 2007 South Pacific Games in Samoa.
The following year he defeated Yee to win the Fiji Open. To date Justin has won a total of 10 major titles.
"To wear the Fiji colours and represent the country is a feeling that is so great that words cannot express," Justin said.
"My first major title that I won was the Fiji Open when I beat the then defending champion and number one Warren. To date he remains my toughest opponent. Warren is a great competitor and always pushes me to the limit. It even comes to the point where we argue on the court about a call that may or may not had gone our way.
"Also one more competitor has started to shine and he is Marika Matanatabu. Marika is giving me a hard time on the courts. But we hardly argue on the court. We are all good friends and on the court it is always time to put all friendship aside and be serious."
Justin won the A grade division during the 2010 Victorian Open in Australia. He collected a silver medal during the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia. Justin admires the playing styles of Gregory Gultier (France), Ramy Ashour (Egypt) and James Willstrop (England) classing them as unique and exciting.
"My aim is to become world ranked and try and lift the standard of squash in the country," Justin said.
"To achieve this, a lot of self discipline is needed. You have to be honest towards your training. These are two main attributes you need to become a good squash player"
"I feel if I make way to the world rankings then other players will follow and lift the bench mark for squash not only for Fiji but for the South Pacific as well.
"The standard of the sport in Fiji is good but like all other sports there is a lot of potential.
"In squash you don't give up if you lose a game or tournament because it is not easy.
"I was on a losing streak for one year before I won my first tournament. So the equation is simple — in order to win some, you have to lose some to know what true victory really tastes like."