Colombian Pablo Serna joins board of directors
By HOWARD HARDING and SEAN REUTHE
Egypt’s World No.3 Ali Farag has been named as the Professional Squash Association’s (PSA) Men’s President as one of four new additions to the PSA’s Board of Directors – which were officially confirmed at the association’s annual AGM held on the eve of the AJ Bell PSA World Championships on Saturday December 9 in Manchester, England.
Farag, who won his first World Series title at October’s U.S. Open, replaces England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop as the Men’s President, with Willstrop remaining as a board member as his six-year reign as President comes to an end.
World Squash Federation (WSF) Vice President and Colombian Squash Federation President Pablo Serna will also lend his expertise to the PSA Board of Directors. Serna has spearheaded the delivery of the two most lucrative squash tournaments ever in Latin America – the Colombia Open and Ciudad de Floridablanca – over the past two years and is the first person ever to serve on both the PSA and WSF boards at the same time.
The election of Serna (right), President of the Colombian Squash Federation, illustrates the very close and strong partnership between WSF, the International Federation for squash, and PSA who are responsible for the administration of both men’s and women’s professional squash around the world.
“I feel honoured and very happy that, after our member nations recognised my willingness and passion to work for squash by electing me as a WSF Vice President a year ago, now professional players have done so as well. This gives me a great opportunity to continue working for the best of this sport, for which I have devoted everything I can in the past 30 years,” commented an elated Serna.
WSF President Jacques Fontaine was equally delighted. He said: “Pablo is a great asset to the WSF Board and I am totally certain that he can provide the strongest link with PSA following his election. I am delighted for him, PSA, WSF and our whole sport.
“I had two key desires that impelled me to stand for the Presidency – a full partnership with PSA, and to work towards squash achieving a place on the Olympic Games programme in 2024. Our relationship with PSA is in place and will be strengthened further with Pablo linking us, and his energy and knowledge for the Olympic bid has already helped me greatly.”
Serna, who is one year into his first four-year term as a WSF Vice President, has been elected for a minimum term of two years by PSA.
Also joining the board is former PSA Tour Director Claudia Schürmann. Zurich-based Schürmann spent over four years with the organisation between 2010-2014 and brings with her an extensive knowledge of the association, the sport and its players.
The final addition to the board is former squash pro Michael Puertas, a former World No.103 and Tournament Promoter of the Emerson RC Pro Series.
“We are delighted to welcome Ali, Pablo, Claudia and Michael onto our Board of Directors and we look forward to working with them over the coming years,” said PSA Chairman Ziad Al-Turki.
“The sport has taken numerous steps forwards in recent years and we are confident that the changes to the board will help us continue this upwards trend, with their experience and knowledge complimenting that of the existing board members.
“We would also like to thank Ashley Bernhard, Jonathan Kemp, Shabana Khan and Mohab Khattab – our outgoing board members – for their contributions to the PSA during their time with the association and wish them the best of luck for the future.”
Farag said: “It’s definitely an honour to be nominated and elected as the PSA Men’s President on the PSA Board.
“I think that the game is going in the right direction, we are a global sport and hopefully we continue growing with the vision that the PSA has got.
“I look forward to being a part of this, to being the voice of the players in front of the PSA Board and to helping in any way I can to grow the sport.”
PSA Board of Directors:
Chairman: Ziad Al Turki
Men’s President: Ali Farag
Women’s President: Jenny Duncalf
Board Members: John Nimick, Pablo Serna, Claudia Schürmann, Michael Puertas, Daryl Selby, James Willstrop
Image of Ali Farag by PATRICK LAUSON / Image of Pablo Serna courtesy of WSF