World ace hungry for national domination
HAVING won 10 state titles, four national championships and shared in Australia's first world triumph, Tanya Aitken could be tempted to take it easy.
But that's the last thought of this Deebing Heights-based sportswoman.
Having regained her best touch on a pool table, Aitken is eyeing her fifth Australian title in October.
"I feel really good about the nationals," Aitken, 34, said yesterday.
"I feel it's my year this year. It's all happening for me.
"I wanted to do really well because of the world titles and I had expectations.
"I'm confident I can do really well in singles at the nationals."
Aitken was part of the versatile team which won Australia's first world crown in Blackpool, England last month.
She was one of six Aussie players who chalked up their cues to beat Wales in the semi-final and England in the final.
In the individual world masters competition, the Ipswich player reached the semi-finals for the fourth time, losing to Sue Thompson 7-3.
Thompson, a full-time professional from Scotland, went on to win her eighth world title.
"She (Thompson) gets paid to play over there and that's what she does for a living," Aitken said, proud of her accomplishment.
"Whereas I work for a living and I spend two hours a week on pool.
"I was really happy with the results."
Before the world titles, Aitken won the highly-competitive south east Queensland competition in June.
After returning from her ninth campaign in England, she collected her 10th state title at the recent tournament at Milton.
Despite reaching the top of her game, Aitken said she had little trouble remaining motivated.
"I've owned it (the Queensland title) for such a long time, it's mine, and I would hate someone to take it away from me," she said.
"The world singles title is the only thing I haven't won now."
Aitken said having a year off playing in 2005 helped revitalise her appetite for eight-ball (also known as pool).
"When I came back last year I wasn't playing the best," the right-handed player said.
"But the world championships this year, and the way I'm playing right now is probably the best I've played in four years.
"It's just consistency. You need consistency to be good at it."
As manager of the Jenny Craig weight loss centre at Booval, Aitken sees parallels between her job and playing eight-ball.
"To work in a position like this, you've got to be quite motivated . . . and be able to lead the team," she said.
But even focused people like the confident Aitken need some help.
In representing Australia at the world titles, Aitken appreciated the backing of her long-time sponsor Ipswich RSL Services Club.