of Fame established
Squash New Zealand is set to honour its legends this week,
with the first inductees to the new Hall of Fame set to be
names at a glittering ceremony on 20th November 2009.
Those to be honoured include Leilani Rorani, Murray Day,
Ross Norman, Susan Devoy, Dardir El Bakary, Bruce Brownlee,
Stuart Davenport and Roy Haddon.
awards hailed a success
The inaugural awards dinner for the New Zealand Squash
Hall of Fame is being described as an enormous success.
More than 150 people enjoyed a night of celebration at
the Novotel Ellerslie Hotel in Auckland, joining emcee
Joseph Romanos in saluting the first eight personalities
to be inducted into the newly formed Hall of Fame.
Former world champions Susan Devoy and Ross
Norman were among the inductees - Norman flying back
especially from his home in the UK to attend. The 1986
World Champion says he did not hesitate to come back out
of respect to New Zealand Squash, and the myriad of
people who helped him early in his career.
Bruce Brownlee, Stu Davenport and
Leilani Rorani were the other players inducted on
the night, while administrators Murray Day and
the late Roy Haddon, represented by his son
Gerald, were also recognised for their indefatigable
efforts off the court.
But is was former world number one Rorani who stole the
show. Rorani spoke of her Maori heritage and of her
childhood in Hamilton. She extolled the efforts of her
father who taught her squash from the coaching manual of
Dadir El Bakary, who in turn had an enormous influence
on her career as New Zealand's first professional squash
coach. Dadir, the eighth inductee, was unfortunately not
present at the awards dinner. However, few were left to
doubt his value to the sport in this country, after
Rorani had finished talking.
The hard work now starts again for the New Zealand
Squash Hall of Fame voting panel, who will consider the
next batch of inductees for 2010. Chairman Don Cotter
says they have a list of potential candidates who
are all very worthy, and just who gets the nod will no
doubt be the subject of lengthy debate amongst those
making the decision.
Another new initiative was also born out of the New
Zealand Hall of Fame, with a fundraiser established to
raise $50,000 to pull all the archives together from
around the country. Joseph Romanos has also agreed to
write a book about the history of New Zealand Squash and
those that have made the sport what it is today.