World champions help to grow the game
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
Stars of the game joined forces to support World Squash Day, with fantastic events taking place all over the planet.
Three-times world champion Nick Matthew helped with the launch, urging clubs to promote the sport, attract new players and raise money for Unicef.
On the day he also broadcast a special WSD video message ahead of setting up a junior challenge match between his own club, Hallamshire, and local rivals Abbeydale in Sheffield, England.
Three more world champions, Peter Nicol, Jonathon Power and Thierry Lincou, teamed up with 2001 British Open runner-up Chris Walker to support an event at the Access Youth Academy in San Diego, USA.
More professionals joined in as the Evreux Club promoted World Squash Day as they hosted a French League match that also involved teams from Mulhouse and Aix.
The club of Evreux AC Squash, in Normandy, celebrated World Squash Day while hosting round one of the French Team Championships, Nationale 1. Evreux, promoted from Nationale 2 in 2015, battled with the two best teams in the country: titleholders Mulhouse, and last season’s runner-up Aix, who unfortunately had to do without Grégory Gaultier. The world champion was nursing an injury in order to prepare for his title defence in Cairo this week.
The three teams wore the World Squash Day official T-shirt during their matches. Led by world number 10 Mathieu Castagnet, Mulhouse beat Evreux 3-1 and Aix 4-0. In the remaining fixture, Aix beat Evreux on game average. The highlight of the day was certainly the match between Castagnet and Evreux’s number 1 Tom Ford. The young Englishman got very close to the biggest win of his career but Castagnet’s experience prevailed in the end, the Frenchman winning 11-9 in the fifth.
Fun, fitness, music and art were among the themes enjoyed by clubs the world over.
Plenty of fancy dress doubles tournaments provided the fun, plus a wooden rackets festival in Latvia, and an international team tournament at the Woden Squash Centre in Canberra, Australia, where former world No.3 Anthony Ricketts joined in the fun as teams took to the courts representing different countries.
Anthony, sporting a Palestine shirt, played a fabulously entertaining exhibition match against Sean Rogers, who was wearing Brazil colours.
A large group of Irish squash enthusiasts certainly illustrated the fitness aspect as they cycled around 20 clubs in Dublin, playing a game at each one.
Australian musician Darren Hanlon gave permission for his song (Not Enough Songs About) Squash to be the official World Squash Day anthem following a social media campaign on Twitter.
And one junior group at The Mote Squash Club in Kent, England, surprised their parents as they followed a radar gun challenge by sitting quietly for 30 minutes while patiently drawing pictures of the glass court in front of the Great Pyramids in Egypt, one of the most iconic scenes in the history of the sport.
World Squash Day founder Alan Thatcher said: “It was wonderful to see so many creative ideas emerge from so many clubs, and especially pleasing to see so many star players joining in the fun.”
The event was supported by the PSA, the WSF and numerous national federations and Thatcher added: “We have already been bombarded with ideas for next year.”
HOW TO DONATE TO UNICEF
Simply go to the World Squash Day JustGiving Page:
NOTE: More pictures and messages on the World Squash Day social media pages.
Pictures from a great team of squash leaders all over the world. Thank you to all of them.