Squash events across the world help to empower women and girls
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad International Correspondent
Squash players the world over will be in action tomorrow (Sunday 8 March) in support of International Women’s Day (#SquashSupportsWomen).
While the Calgary CFO Consulting Services PSA Women’s Squash Week, a Canadian PSA World Tour event celebrating its seventh year, will be staging its final, one of the year’s biggest women’s events will be getting under way in Egypt.
The CIB Black Ball Open, a Platinum tournament at the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo, boasts a star-studded field led by world No.1 Raneem El Welily, the title-holder from the Egyptian capital.
“For so many years we didn’t have any women’s tournaments, so now that we have three or four Platinum tournaments in Egypt it’s something that I’m very proud of,” said the 31-year-old El Welily, the 2017 world champion.
While up-and-coming Tour players will be taking part in the women’s Auckland Open in New Zealand, leading players of the future will be in action in the Austrian Junior Open in Vienna, which offers events from U13 through to U19.
The top youngsters in England are competing in the English Junior Championships in Hull, where girls’ titles from U11 to U19 will be decided.
Gender equality has been a driving force in Squash in recent years and only earlier this week the Windy City Open reached its climax in Chicago, where the world’s leading men and women shared equally the PSA Platinum event’s record $500,000 prize fund.
“Sport in general, from grass roots to the elite level, is a fantastic way to empower girls and women and help them gain confidence and develop and follow their dreams,” said World Squash Federation Vice President Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the former world number one from Australia who won a record fifth women’s World Championship title in 2002.
“As a former World No.1, President of the Women’s Association and now Vice President of World Squash Federation, I have seen squash continue to promote gender equality while promoting so many amazing ambassadors from different backgrounds.”
England Squash have been running a social media campaign on Facebook with some slightly different content which is designed to appeal to a wide-ranging audience and ultimately get more people on court. ES are also offering readers the chance to take part in a squash personality test on their Facebook page.
Pictures courtesy of WSF and Steve Cubbins (England Squash)