Former England captain, now Heights Casino squash director, is blazing a trail for the sport
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Linda Elriani, the former world No.3 and current Director of Squash at the Heights Casino in Brooklyn, New York, received the 2015 ToC Women’s Squash Leadership Award during the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Women’s Leadership Luncheon in Grand Central Terminal. The luncheon was presented by the tournament’s silver sponsor Lexington Partners.
The former English international, whose wonderful sense of humour and delightful personality endeared her to fellow players and squash fans worldwide, enjoyed a glittering professional playing career in squash. During her 16-year playing career, Elriani won 15 Tour titles, reaching 32 Tour finals including the 2005 Tournament of Champions final.
She was capped 75 times for England, including five successive World Team Championships appearances between 1996 and 2004. Elriani captained the England team which won the 2000 World title and also won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in doubles with countrywoman Fiona Geaves.
Linda now oversees all squash programming at the Heights Casino, a club with a storied history of producing champion squash players. She also serves as Tournament Director of the Carol Weymuller Open, a Women’s Squash Association Gold event.
In her presentation remarks, ToC Associate Director Beth Rasin noted: “Linda has been a leader in the world of squash in so many ways for more than two decades. As a professional player, she led by example as one of the hardest working players on the tour, reaching a career-high world No.3 ranking and maintaining an unbroken presence in the world top 10 for more than seven years.
“She led by assuming the responsibility of Board Chair of the Women’s Squash Association for more than a decade. She is continuing to lead as Tournament Director of The Carol Weymuller Open, ensuring that there continues to be high quality tournaments for the current players.
“And, perhaps most importantly, as Director of Squash at the Heights Casino, Linda’s greatest leadership gift is sharing her love of the game and encouraging each player to find his or her own joy in the sport.”
On accepting the award, Elriani said: “I am so grateful for all the opportunities presented to me because of my involvement with squash.
“My life has been enriched in so many ways because of it. I am excited to see the women’s professional tour continue to grow, and I want to congratulate J.P. Morgan and the Tournament of Champions for providing prize money parity for women and men at this year’s championships.”
Also speaking at the Leadership Luncheon about the positive impact of their involvement in squash were two representatives of the ToC’s official charities, Joetta Francis of StreetSquash and Tanesha Jackson of CitySquash.
Pictured above (L to r) are: Joetta Francis; Beth Rasin; Leadership Luncheon Co-Chair and WSA Board Member Ashley Bernhard; Linda Elriani; ToC Operations Director Melissa Winstanley; and Tanesha Jackson
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Pictures courtesy of WSA