‘Mall setting will help to promote squash in Finland’
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
As the squash world tiptoes towards an emergence from the coronavirus lockdown, the Finnish Squash Federation are busy planning the 2021 European Team Championships. Main matches will be played on a glass court which will be set up inside the Mall of Tripla cultural square.
The Mall, which is connected to the Pasila railway station, is one of the biggest shopping centres in northern Europe.
Half a million people turned up during the first four days after it opened for business in October last year.
Finnish Squash leaders hope that kind of footfall past the court will stimulate interest in the sport when the event takes place from April 28 to May 1.
Mika Monto, Executive Director of the Finnish Squash Association, played in some great venues around the world during his professional career and hopes the Euro Teams will be a major focal point for the sport.
He said: “One of squash’s great opportunities has always been to take the glass court to the finest places possible.
“There have been courts in Egypt next to the Pyramids, inside New York’s Grand Central Station, and several malls around the world. Now we get to play squash at a venue which feels like it is made for our event.
“We are able to present our sport to the general public better than before. Our goal is to make the games memorable for both players and the public.”
Kati Kivimäki, Mall of Tripla’s CEO (pictured), is also pleased to welcome the European Team Championships.
She said: “It’s great to have the European Championships in squash at the Mall of Tripla and build a unique entity in an urban setting. We look forward to squash professionals and the public enjoying the tournament atmosphere at Tripla.”
Matches will also be played at the Talihalli courts in Pitäjänmäki as 36 teams (20 men’s and 16 women’s) from 22 countries compete in the European Team Championships.
A total of about 200 players will include many of the best players in Europe, including Camille Serme from France (WR 4), Sarah-Jane Perry from England (WR 6) and Tesni Evans from Wales (WR 10). On the men’s side, the highest world rankings are currently held by Simon Rösner of Germany (WR 8) and Joel Makin of Wales (WR 10).
Finnish men’s and women’s teams will compete in the top division. The women’s goal from the home event is a medal, on the men’s side the goal is among the top six.
Tickets for the European Championships will be on sale at the end of the year.
Pictures courtesy of PSA and Finnish Squash