World Squash Day 20th Anniversary date is confirmed for Saturday September 11th 2021
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor and World Squash Day Founder
World Squash Day celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, with Saturday September 11th, 2021, confirmed as the date.
Plans are already under way to launch major global campaigns in conjunction with World Squash Day to help the sport recover from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The date is special. It links present-day activities to support the game with events that led to the original formation of World Squash Day.
I am constantly amazed at the number of individuals in squash, many in leadership roles, who have no knowledge of the reasons why this global movement was set up 20 years ago in response to the terrible events of 9/11.
Tragically, a large number of squash players lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Other squash players later succumbed to illnesses linked to those attacks and the valiant rescue efforts carried out by first responders, plus the subsequent clearing of the site and ongoing pollution issues in the neighbourhood.
World Squash Day was set up to honour the memory of those individuals, and to do something tangible for the sport.
Down the years, World Squash Day has grown into a huge, annual project designed to promote the sport at every level.
Each year, clubs and federations are encouraged to reach out into their communities and work together to raise the profile of the sport, generate publicity for their facilities, and attract a new generation of players to share the fun, the fitness benefits and the lifelong friendships that squash delivers.
This year was a very challenging edition to coordinate, with so many nations experiencing differing levels of restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, we were rewarded with some amazing and heart-warming events created by enthusiastic, passionate squash lovers who refused to be cowed by Covid-19.
In this week’s media release, announcing the date for 2021, I said: “We want to build on all the energy that lit up World Squash Day 2020.
“Clubs, federations and players all over the planet showed their love for the game with so many fun events, both on and off court.
“We want to harness that passion with projects designed to attract a new generation of players to our fantastic sport.
“Our 20th anniversary edition will continue to honour the memory of all the squash players who lost their lives on 9/11, a terrible event which led to the formation of World Squash Day, but we will also be using this occasion to bring people together in the name of sport.”
Despite Covid restrictions, this year’s World Squash Day delivered a massive social media campaign built around a wide range of fun activities that took place on October 10th.
It was heartening to see squash groups from nations large and small doing so much good in their local communities, and especially in countries like Lebanon, Bangladesh, Brazil and South Africa, with some amazing projects helping disadvantaged people.
In many parts of the world, clubs and federations set up “Bounce Back” programmes to relaunch the sport after lockdown restrictions.
With local guidelines keeping players off court in various countries, individuals took to the streets to create some outstanding Covid-compliant videos, which were seen by more than a million fans on social media.
World Squash Day is endorsed by both the World Squash Federation (WSF) and the Professional Squash Association (PSA).
WSF President Jacques Fontaine praised enthusiasts across the world for their efforts this year despite the difficulties encountered in so many countries.
Numerous events, including the World Squash Day Auction and T-shirts produced by 305 Squash, helped to raise money for the We Are One fund launched by the PSA Foundation to assist members suffering from hardship.
Crucially, squash players also helped to support health workers thanks to the generous donation to medical facilities of more than 400 specially adapted face shields produced by I-Mask founders Simon Stanbridge and Richard Millman in conjunction with World Squash Day.
Over the next few weeks I will be working with partners on fine tuning some of the key projects set to launch on World Squash Day 2021.
Watch this space.