Squash’s bid to become an Olympic sport as part of the 2020 Games receives a massive boost next week when Peter Nicol and Tim Garner embark on the Xodus 7 Continent Challenge. This feat of endurance will see the pair play seven matches in seven days on seven continents, starting on April 13 in the Falkland Islands.
Nicol and Garner admitted to being daunted by the gruelling journey that will see them travel 40,000 miles and spend more than 70 hours on planes as they play matches in the Falkland Islands, Santiago in South America; Sydney in Australia; Kuala Lumpur, in Asia; Cairo in Africa; London in Europe and New York in North America. Xodus Group is providing financial backing to support the Challenge.
“It’s going to be incredibly tough for both of us and I’m definitely not doing it more than once!” said Nicol, a former World No.1 in squash. “Tim and I believe so much that squash should be in the Olympics and this is our way of showing what a global sport squash is.
“The travel is going to exhausting and we’ll be spending a lot of time running through airports and packing bags, plus our squash matches are always really competitive. But it’s a fantastic opportunity to achieve something incredible and showcase our sport in what could be a massive year for squash.”
Nicol and Garner, 42, have been friends since their playing days and Garner says they know what to expect from their travelling adventure.
“Peter is pretty relaxed and he’s not great on time-keeping, but I’m very organised so I think it’ll be me setting the alarm and making sure we have our passports,” said Garner. “It’s definitely going to be an incredible adventure.”
Xodus 7 Continent Challenge schedule:
|Day 1:||13th April – Falkland Islands||‘Antarctica’|
|Day 2:||14th April – Santiago, Chile||South America|
|Day 3:||16th April* – Sydney, Australia||Australia|
|Day 4:||17th April – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Asia|
|Day 5:||18th April – Cairo, Egypt||Africa|
|Day 6:||19th April – London, UK||Europe|
|Day 7:||20th April – New York||North America|
*lose a day – international date line
As well as highlighting squash’s Olympic Bid, the Xodus 7 Continent Challenge will be fundraising for two causes: The LV= SOS Kit Aid Scheme and Natasha’s Steps, a trust set up help young squash player Natasha Drake who is recovering from an idiopathic bleed on her brain. “These are all fantastic causes that are very close to us,” said Nicol. “It’s also incredible to have Xodus’s support. They do so much for squash in sponsoring events and making it accessible for everyone.”
As ambassadors of sports such as squash, Xodus committed in excess of £20,000 last year sponsoring the Xodus Legends of Squash tournament in Aberdeen, which also featured Peter Nicol.