Squash is just one big global family
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
World Squash Day brought the sport together like one big global family with some amazing events taking place all over the planet.
And nowhere was the idea of family more apparent than at the US Open in Philadelphia, where Egyptians Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb became the first husband and wife to win both finals in a PSA World Series tournament.
PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough said: “World Squash Day took place on a historic day for the sport as Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb became the first married couple in sporting history ever to win the same major sports title on the same day after their final wins in Philadelphia.
“The U.S. Open encapsulated the drama and excitement that is associated with squash and it was particularly pleasing to see the tournament culminate with Ali and Nour’s history-making victories in what is a fantastic advert for the sport.
“The PSA are committed to growing squash at all levels and we look forward to being a part of the 2018 edition of World Squash Day as the initiative continues to go from strength to strength.”
England’s Daryl Selby could have been forgiven for putting his feet up after flying home from the US Open, where he lost in the quarter-finals to former world champion Nick Matthew after beating Egypt’s Tarek Momen in a second round battle lasting 102 minutes.
Instead of resting, Selby chose to travel to Bishop’s Stortford Squash Club in Hertfordshire to support their open day. As well as taking his young sons on court, Selby poured a pint of lager in the club’s new bar!
Selby took to Twitter to announce his appearance at the event and many fellow players also used social media to express their love for the sport.
Canadian No.1 Samantha Cornett said: “So grateful for squash and the amazing community we get to be a part of on this @WorldSquashDay.”
American No.1 Amanda Soby, who is recovering from injury, Tweeted: “Happy @WorldSquashDay everyone! I will always love this sport and continue to play even though it has destroyed my body a little bit!”
Young Welsh player Emyr Evans, whose sister Tesni is a top 20 player, said:
Happy @WorldSquashDay Don’t know where I’d be without the sport!”
Former world junior champion Diego Elias, from Peru, posted a Twitter message wishing everyone a happy World Squash Day alongside a picture of himself with former world champions Amr Shabana (Egypt) and the mercurial Jonathon Power from Canada.
Elias had beaten world No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy in the US Open. Next up he faces fellow WSD Ambassador Selby in the first round of the Channel VAS Open in Weybridge, England.
Another squash legend, World Squash Day Founding President Peter Nicol, originally from Scotland but now based in New York, visited the Access Youth Academy in San Diego on World Squash Day for an exhibition fund-raiser with Irish professional Arthur Gaskin.
Another open day was held at Uppingham School Sports Centre in Northamptonshire, England, where local MP Tom Pursglove turned up to support a campaign to build a new squash club in nearby Corby.
Organiser James Roberts said: “With a population of 65,000 and growing, Corby is the biggest town in England without a squash court. We were very pleased that Tom came along to support our event and we presented him with a Corby squash shirt.
“I asked if he could wear it in the House of Commmons to raise the issue of squash-court provision, but he said it would probably breach House rules!
“However, he is training for a marathon and reckons it will be the perfect top to wear while training. He is very committed to developing grass-roots sport and we are delighted to have his support.”
MP Pursglove is pictured with Corby Squash campaigner James Roberts (centre) and Northamptonshire SRA chairman Mike Broadbent.
For me, one of the founders of World Squash Day, it was wonderful to see the event bringing together the global squash community like one big happy family.
From tiny youngsters to the world’s leading professionals, we have seen so many fun-filled events taking place across the planet where players and coaches have shared their love of the game with a new generation of participants.
Playing squash is a lifelong love affair with enormous health benefits thrown in. I’m 64, and I managed to play five doubles matches in a single day at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone.
And I was up at 9am to clean the courts and cook bacon and eggs for some visiting players who joined in the doubles, stayed for the party, and slept on the courts overnight!
Pictures courtesy of World Squash Day