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Alan’s Blog: Aussie Open heads to Melbourne as NATO Summit closes squash club in Wales

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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Sports and Aquatic Centre to host Oz Open as Squash Victoria looks for extra funding

Squash at the MSAC
Squash at the MSAC

The Australian Open is heading to Melbourne for a three-year term starting next year.  

Squash and Racquetball Victoria has obtained the rights to host the Australian Open in Melbourne at the Sports and Aquatic Centre from 2015-2017.

Squash Australia has committed to providing a total of $50k prize money and S&RV is now looking for corporate sponsors to assist with promotion to develop the event.

The event will run from August 3-9, 2015, and will be preceded by the Victorian Open and Kooyong International.  

Olympic dream lives on

Squash hasn’t given up hope of being included at the 2020 Olympics with top official Heather Deayton encouraged by IOC president Thomas Bach’s moves to add flexibility to the sports programme for the Tokyo Games, according to the South China Morning Post.

“We have not given up hope. In fact, we have our fingers crossed squash will still be played at the 2020 Olympics now the IOC is looking at ways to increase the medal sports, while reducing the number of disciplines in those existing sports,” said Deayton, World Squash Federation vice-president.

Squash lost its bid to become an Olympic sport at last September’s IOC general assembly in Buenos Aires when members voted to reinstate wrestling, which received a majority of 49 votes, followed by a joint bid by baseball and softball (24 votes) and squash (22).

But hopes have been renewed with Bach wanting to put in place a new road map for the Olympic movement and has received feedback from 14 working groups created to discuss his recommendations for Olympic Agenda 2020, his strategic blueprint for the future.

The working groups comprised members from the IOC, athletes, representatives from the international federations, national Olympic committees and outside experts. Apart from looking at ways to reduce costs of staging Games, these groups also looked at proposals to increase the number of sports from the existing 28.

“We are very encouraged by this as we believe Bach wants more sports at the Olympics. The issue is he doesn’t want to increase the number of athletes, keeping the cap at around 10,000 for the Summer Games, rather hoping to make room by reducing the number of disciplines in other sports,” said the Hong Kong-based Deayton.

Golden girl Nicol David
Golden girl Nicol David

Malaysian world number one Nicol David, who is chasing a 10th straight title at this week’s Hong Kong Open, said: “I have heard there is still a chance squash will be played at the 2020 Olympics and if that is the case, I would love to be in it.

“I’m 31 now and if I take care of myself physically, I should be able to make it. It would be a dream come true to represent my country at the Olympics,” Commonwealth Games gold medal winner David said.

As reported recently in Squash Mad, 14 working groups presented a broad outline of their findings to the IOC executive board in July.

The proposals will now go to IOC commissions next month and the executive board in October. Final recommendations will be put to the full IOC at a special assembly in Monaco in December.

“We will know then if we still have a chance. I’m very hopeful,” Deayton said.

Squash club closes for NATO summit 

2020-obamaWe hate hearing stories about squash clubs closing, but now we can blame Russian thug Vladimir Putin.

Not only did the Russian bully fix the voting so that wrestling got back into the Olympics, his instructions for Russian troops to invade Ukraine is one of the top items on the agenda at at next week’s NATO summit meeting in Wales.

Not surprisingly, there will be massive security for this event, and South Wales Police are taking over the Rodney Parade rugby ground in Newport as their operational headquarters for the duration of the event.

Sadly, this means that the courts at Newport Squash Club, which is based at Rodney Parade, will be off limits to members. A  spokesman said they were disappointed with the “lack of communication” over the issue.

He added: “It has affected us as we’ve been closed down for the week,”, but he revealed that Jessica Morden MP had offered some sound advice and that “with a bit of luck” they would be able to claim some compensation.

“The squash club appreciates the importance of the event and what it will do for the area but there has been a lack of communication with the people affected.” 

President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, and President Hollande are expected to attend along with leaders and senior ministers from around 60 other countries.

Maybe those disaffected Newport squash players, instead of spending time on court, can lobby the world leaders about getting squash into the Olympics. And tell them about World Squash Day on October 18.

Canadian cash boost for Women’s World Teams

Great news from Canada as Squash Ontario and Squash Canada announce that the Ontario Government, through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport, has awarded $150,000 in financial support towards the 2014 Women’s World Teams Championship.

The Championship will take place from December 1-6 in the Mark Sachvie Squash Centre at the superb White Oaks Resort and Spa at Niagara-on-the-Lake.

White Oaks is recognized as one of Canada’s premier squash facilities and will feature a state of the art four-wall glass show court with seating capacity for more than 500 spectators.

It will be the first time in over 30 years that Ontario has played host to such a prestigious world class event

In a statement, The Honorable Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport as well as the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games said: “Ontario is proud to support the 2014 Women’s World Team Championships through our International Amateur Sport Hosting program– part of Celebrate Ontario. By supporting international sport events, our government is strengthening local economies and providing opportunities for Ontario athletes to compete at home.”

Tickets start as low as $10.00 per session, with full week packages from $100.00 and can be purchased on line at www.wsfwomensteams.com

Pictures from Squash Mad archive and social media 

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