Squash Stars And Politicians Back World Squash Day 2017
Politicians and squash stars are joining forces to support World Squash
Day, which is taking place tomorrow (Saturday October 14).
As well as promoting the health benefits of the sport, Tom Pursglove (MP
for Corby and East Northamptonshire in England) is helping local
enthusiasts in their bid to build a new squash club.
Campaigner James Roberts said: “With a population of more than 65,000,
Corby is the biggest town in Engand without squash courts. We aim to
change that and plan to build a new club in the town. We are very
pleased to have the support of our local MP.”
Mr Pursglove will be getting on court during an Open Day at Uppingham
School Sports Centre on Saturday morning.
He said: “I am greatly looking forward to attending the free taster
sessions at Uppingham School on World Squash Day, and commend James on
his campaign to try and get some squash courts built in Corby.
“It would be great to get some squash courts in Corby, and I would
encourage all local people to come down and give squash a try!”
Roberts added: “I moved back to the Corby area after some years and was
horrified to find that all the squash courts had gone.
“By my reckoning, with a population of over 65,000 and with ambitions to
grow even more, this already makes Corby the largest town in the UK that
has no squash courts. This is ironic given that the town had managed to
ditch its title as the largest town in the UK without a railway station!
“Now we want to get squash back on the tracks in Corby. World Squash Day
is the perfect vehicle for promoting such a good cause.
“As well as the event at Uppingham School, my current club, Market
Harborough, is holding a special event with juniors playing in a World
Team event. All the kids will be split up into different groups
representing different nations, which, with 20 million squash players in
something like 200 nations, is a great way of illustrating that global
spread of the sport.”
Christina Rees, a former Wales international with more than 100
international caps, is now MP for Neath and Shadow Secretary of State
She said: “Squash has given me so much in my life. After playing many
sports, including tennis, I discovered squash in my early twenties.
After a few months I had a Welsh trial and was so honoured to be
selected to represent Wales at the Home Internationals. I represented
Wales many times and have over 100 caps.
“It was never my intention to become a coach, but was persuaded by Mike
Workman, Director of Coaching and Development at Welsh Squash and
Racketball, to take that step and went on to become a Level 3 and
National Welsh Coach.
“I never thought that representing Wales could be surpassed, but
coaching a child from beginner to achieving National honours is a
“Squash improved my fitness, discipline, made me aware of the benefits
of healthy eating and the friends I have made over the years are
precious to me. As a coach, I saw how my players developed into all
round personalities. I am still in contact with Mike and my players and
go to watch Welsh events.
“Since becoming MP for Neath in May 2015, I have endeavoured to raise
the profile of squash in Westminster and have campaigned for squash to
be included in the Olympic Games.
“I have formed an All Party Group for Squash and Racketball and held a
Westminster Hall Debate. There are plans to hold further Parliamentary
events in the run up to the 2024 Bid for squash to be included in the
Paris Olympics. My love for squash is well known.
“If I was asked to sum up squash, it's like ‘Chess on Legs!’ Good luck
to everybody taking part on World Squash Day in clubs large and small.”
Another MP, Rehman Chishti, member of Pasrliament for Rainham and
Gillingham in Kent, said: “As someone who tries to regularly play squash
at 6.30am in the morning before work, I have to say it is a fantastic
game for all ages, all levels, and a great way to keep fit and healthy.
I highly recommend it to everyone.”
World Squash Day is endorsed by the World Squash Federation and the PSA,
and national federations are encouraging clubs to open their doors to
attract new participants to a game that has frequently been rated the
healthiest sport to play.
In the USA, Kristi Maroc, the Head Coach and Managing Partner of San
Diego Squash, will be hosting a ‘USA versus The World’ one-day
tournament which will promote the international flavour of the game.
Kristi said: “We have a very international community here, with over 20
nationalities represented in our squash group, so it’ll be a lot of fun.
We’ll have the barbecue going all day too. My fellow coach Hugo Varela
is from Spain, so that’s another nationality!”
Last year the San Diego World Squash Day event featured former world
champions Thierry Lincou and Peter Nicol, the founding president of WSD
when it was launched to commemorate the many squash players who were
killed in the 9/11 attacks on New York.
Australian number one Cameron Pilley, who won the World Doubles
Championship with Ryan Cuskelly in Manchester recently, was happy to
endorse World Squash Day.
He said: “World Squash Day seems to be getting bigger and better every
year and it’s so positive to see clubs all around the world get behind
“I am looking forward to seeing the different and fun ideas clubs come
up with this year to promote our great game. See you on court!”
Squash Australia released the following statement:
“World Squash Day is a fantastic sporting initiative led by WSF and PSA
to celebrate, support and grow the sport that we love. Over the years
Squash Australia has supported WSD and seen the impact of the campaign
not only across Australia but across the world.
“At Squash Australia, we encourage all clubs and players to get behind
us with our support of WSD and to promote squash to the wider community
highlighting the diversity, intensity and excitement of the sport. We
have had numerous examples of Australian athletes supporting WSD in the
past and we hope to see more again this year.”
Aaron Frankcomb’s thriving East Coast Academy in Australia has
commissioned a giant infographic tracing the history of squash, which
will be published online on World Squash Day.
In England, former world champions Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro are
urging clubs to organise events to attract new players to the sport.
Three-times world champion Matthew said: “World Squash Day is a great
opportunity to showcase the game to a new audience, not just the health
benefits of squash but how much fun it can be.
“Any initiative that can help to get people through the door of squash
clubs to try squash for the first time has to be supported and World
Squash Day is doing this on a global scale, which is great. Despite me
'hopefully' being in Philadelphia (for the US Open) I'm sure my local
club, Hallamshire, will be supporting the day.”
Massaro, women’s world champion in 2014, added: “I am very passionate
about getting more girls and women to play squash and World Squash Day
is a fantastic opportunity for people who may never have tried squash to
give it a go.”
Matthew and Massaro hope to be celebrating World Squash Day by appearing
in the finals of the US Open. Both will be competing in the semi-finals
tonight, Matthew against reigning champion Mohamed ElShorbagy and
Massaro coming up against another Egyptian, Nour El Tayeb.
Matthew’s home club, Hallamshire in Sheffield, home club of three-times
world champion Nick Matthew, is having a busy day on Saturday, hosting
an inter counties girls Under-19 event and holding a handicap squash
event for World Squash Day. All entries from the squash event will be
going to Unicef.
In Moscow’s National Squash Centre, Head Coach Alexey Severinov, a
former PSA professional, says he wants visitors on World Squash Day to
become “addicted to squash”.
He said: “No one can resist squash. Everyone who has ever played squash
comes back to the to courts again and again. World Squash Day in Moscow
is a day of open doors for everyone who wants to test this game and – as
we really do hope – start his or her own story of playing squash.
“We will have free lessons from coaches, exhibitions from professional
players and our weekly “Subbotnik” Saturday club for existing squash
“The Centre will be open from 11am to 8pm for kids and adults. We will
fill their day with bright emotions and impressions, we will show them
all why we love squash, and will do our best to attract more people to
be addicted to squash like the rest of us are!”
As an extra special touch, they will be handing out free gingerbread
cakes baked in the shape of a squash racket!