Ziad Al Turki pledges focus on participation in Saudi sport
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad International Correspondent
Saudi Arabia will participate in a World Team Squash Championship for the first time when a team from the Arab state competes in the 2018 WSF Men’s World Junior Team Championship in India in July.
The hosts will lead 23 nations in the 20th edition of the biennial World Squash Federation event at the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai from 24-29 July.
India will be hosting the championship for the second time since the inaugural event in 1980.
The team event will follow the Men’s and Women’s World Junior Individual Championships from 18-23 July.
Pakistan will look to defend the title they won for the fifth time in the 2016 men’s team championship in Poland, where India finished in sixth place.
Commenting on the first appearance of a Saudi Arabian team in a World Championship, Saudi Squash Federation President Ziad Al-Turki said: “The Saudi General Sports Authority under its new leadership has different goals than in previous years. It now concentrates on mass participation, wanting to take participation in sports amongst Saudis from 17% to 40% by 2020.
“Concentrating on junior athletes and developing a strong grassroots foundation is key – setting long-term goals for achieving medals is what now allows us to send juniors across all Federations to participate in international junior tournaments worldwide.”
The 23 nations competing in the team championship in Chennai are: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong China, India, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, USA & Zimbabwe.
Picture from Squash Mad archive