Squash and art make a show to remember in Krakow
By ROSANNA RADLINSKA – Squash Mad European Correspondent
Squash has always been graced by rare artists, amazing players whose skills transcend sporting boundaries and take the game into new aesthetic spheres. In Krakow, squash and art combined for the Polish National Team Championships.
This was the fifth edition of this end-of-season festival of squash and art in Krakow.
Squash and Art Festival organiser Maciek Maciantowicz and his squash club Squash4You hosted yet another successful event (nominal sponsor SNS FOODS) which not only promoted our sport throughout the city (visited by 10 million tourists in 2015) but also embraced works of art. It is a rare combination but it works well for this particular event.
The venues were impressive, starting with the Squash4You club with 7 McWil courts.The glass court, something of a work of art itself, was sited on Jan Nowak Jezioranski Square, just five minutes’ walk from the Old Town Square, next to the big shopping mall Galeria Krakowska, and the main train station in the city.
Every year there is a photography exhibition in the shopping mall, Galeria Krakowska, where anyone can have a look at squash players in action, not to mention that every year there is a photography competition for the best squash photograph. Anyone can enter and therefore have a chance to see their images exhibited.
Squash supporters can also admire different dance groups on the squash court as this is a part of the event.
Other sports are invited to present themselves on the glass court like karate (perhaps it is a good combination since karate made it into the Olympics) and mountain bike trials. There was also a competition for the best/most active squash fan. So much to expose our sport-squash!
This year Squash and Art Festival hosted 16 men’s teams, 16 women’s teams, seven boys’ teams and four girls’ teams from various Polish clubs.
Each senior team can have a non-Polish player and that player is always No.1 string, so this year Polish fans could admire Gregory Gaultier, Nick Matthew, Miguel Rodriguez, Matthew Castagnet, Borja Golan, Laura Pomportes and Emily Whitlock on the glass court.
Every day, during the Squash and Art Festival, before the evening matches, the glass court was used for free squash lesson/introduction to squash to anyone who wanted to try it.
Squash players and squash fans were travelling between the club and the glass court and, after 269 matches, the winners emerged:
Men’s team winner: Squash City Euvic team Warsaw
Runner-up: Milon Kahuna Team Warsaw
Women’s team winner: Squash and More Hitgirls Orzech
Runner-up: Squash City Euvic team Warsaw
Boys team winner: Abram and SquashZone Team Poznan and Szczecin
Runner-up: Squash4You Krakow
Girls team winner: My Squash Girls Poznan
Runner-up: Abram Girls Team Poznan
Best of 5, a company that helped with refereeing system (a squash fan can have an app and follow the results live and see all the statistics of every match), summed up the festival quite interestingly with the following statistics:
15,547 points scored
922 games playes
87 hours 17 minutes and 29 seconds – the combined length of all matches
The longest men’s match: 83min 8s – a 5 setter
The longest women match: 59min 14s – a 5 setter
The longest boys match: 48min 30s – a 5 setter
The longest girls match: 28min 20s – a 4 setter
The best men’s and women’s team will feature in the European Club Championships in Pontefract in September 2016.
There was something for the football fans as well. One of the squash courts became a football supporters’ zone as the match between Poland and Switzerland was on during Squash and Art Festival. The organisers scheduled a break for squash making sure that none of the matches were played during the football game.
Squash and Art took Krakow over from 23/06 to 26/06 and the proof can be found in beautiful pictures taken by Kuba Rybicki from nasquasha.pl and Paweł Dziurzynski.
And… there was an after party where everybody, who was not shattered from all these matches, minutes, and emotions, could shine.
Pictures by Kuba Rybicki and Paweł Dziurzynski