New boss for Finnish Squash
Hannu Mäkinen (57) has been appointed new Executive Director
of the Finnish Squash Association. Hannu succeeds Markku
Hyrske, who held the position from 2002, and he will start
in his new role on the 1st of September.
Hannu has, among other things, worked for Sport Up Finland
where he consulted numerous sports associations to create
their own activities and to turn them into commercial
Hannu has been, and still is, an active club player but the
squash community in Finland and abroad knows Hannu best for
his role as Sami Elopuro's coach. They worked together for
11,5 years and as a result of this Sami became the best ever
ranked racket player in Finland.
from the Star
KL Court to be named after Nicol
The main court at Malaysia's National Squash Centre in Bukit
Jalil will be named after world squash queen Nicol David.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek
said the Cabinet had agreed with their proposal to name
sports facilities after Malaysian athletes who excelled on
the world stage.
“For a start, we have suggested to honour our squash queen
in recognition of her excellent achievements, including
winning the world title four times,” said Shabery in a press
“We strongly believe that the recognition bestowed upon our
outstanding athlete in this manner would be a source of
inspiration to other aspiring athletes to excel in their
The 26-year-old Nicol is one of the most outstanding
Malaysians, having achieved fame by her remarkable results
Nicol is one of the most accomplished players on the Wispa
circuit, winning a total of 40 titles since turning
professional in 2000. In Amsterdam last Sunday the world No.
1 since August 2006 won the World Open title for a fourth
time in five years.
She is only the third player in the history of the
championship to have emerged as the champion so many times.
Australian Sarah Fitz-Gerald holds the record of five wins
and New Zealander Susan Devoy also has four to her name.
Except for a Commonwealth Games title, Nicol has won all the
other major titles squash has to offer, including the Asian
Games and the prestigious British Open in which she is a
three-time winner. Nicol will get the chance to nail the
elusive Comonwealth Games gold medal in New Delhi next year.
WILLSTROP GIVES ANIMALS A
SPORTING CHANCE BY GOING VEGETARIAN ...
Second-Ranked Squash Player Unveils New PETA Advert: 'Squash
Obesity – Go Vegetarian'
Manchester - To coincide with the British Open Squash
Championships, fetching squash phenomenon James Willstrop
today unveiled his new pro-vegetarian PETA ad at the
Northern Lawn Tennis Club in Manchester. In the ad,
Willstrop holds his legendary racket and prepares to volley
an orange next to the tagline "Squash Obesity – Go
Willstrop, one of the world's top squash players, has strong
opinions about meat-eating. "Meat has no place in a
professional athlete's diet", he says in the hard-hitting
advert. "Since I stopped eating meat, I'm faster, I have
more energy and I know that my decision has saved countless
Willstrop joins a growing list of celebrities – including
Sir Paul McCartney, Alicia Silverstone, Bryan Adams, Sadie
Frost, Owain Yeoman and many others – who have joined with
PETA to show that going vegetarian is the best thing you can
do for your health, animals and the planet.
"I had first heard about PETA through Morrissey actually.
I'm very keen to support animals, and I liked what PETA were
doing, so I got in touch because I wanted to make it known
that meat is totally unnecessary, and detrimental, to a
world-class athlete. People laugh at me when I tell them,
and I can't for one minute believe that so many people find
it perfectly natural to mercilessly slaughter animals and
devour them for their own gratification."
For more information about PETA, please visit PETA.org.uk
Former squash great comes back for a good cause
Australian squash star Barbara Wall has come out of a
20-year retirement and will play in the World Masters Games
in September, all the while raising money for a great cause.
Wall, who won the British Open in 1979, is aiming to raise
$45,000 for Rotary’s Interplast Australia and New Zealand
Interplast sends teams of volunteer surgeons, anaesthetists,
nurses and allied therapists to developing countries in the
Asia Pacific for free treatment and medical training.
The volunteers provide treatment to people living with a
disability from a congenital condition such as cleft lip and
cleft palate or acquired conditions such as burns scars.
Treatment is targeted at those who would otherwise not be
able to afford to access such services.
Wall, inducted into the Squash Australia Hall of Fame in
March this year along with fellow British Open winner Sue
King, is in the middle of intensive training to be ready
for October’s Games.
She has even asked King, her former great rival on the
circuit, to coach her in the build-up to the championships.
“I can hit the ball when I get there – the problem is
getting to it,” she joked.
Wall has also lost an amazing 18 kilograms during her
comeback and says she still has another seven to go before
She has launched a website --
-- where people can learn more about Interplast and donate
to the cause.
Also coming out of retirement to help boost the profile of
the Gift of a Smile campaign are The Squashies, eight
wonderful little cartoon squash players who were created by
Alex Stitt and developed with Barb’s help over 20 years ago
for the national Life, Be In It campaign.
Barry Backhand, Debbie Dropshot, Frankie Forehand, Vicky
Volley and friends are set to make a comeback and be a
driving force behind the campaign.
Shelley Expects ...
number one Shelley Kitchen sprung a surprise during
the New Zealand Open
post-tournament presentations, announcing she is expecting
her first child with New Zealand squash coach and former
world number three Anthony Ricketts.
The World No.10 confirmed she is thirteen and a half weeks
pregnant, which makes it all the more remarkable that she
made it through to the semifinals of the Women’s World Tour
event at Bayfair.
Kitchen, who is due in February next year, is taking time
out from the game for now, but hopes to be back for next
year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
"I'm just going to see how things go," said Kitchen. "If I
can get back to a really good level of fitness to play the
Commonwealth Games, then I'll definitely be there."
Squash New Zealand CEO Mike Thompson says Kitchen and
Ricketts are a popular couple on the squash scene and news
of Shelley's pregnancy has been warmly welcomed. "Everyone
is now looking forward to the arrival of the newest member
of the squash family next year".
Swine flu strikes down
Indian Nationals ...
The immigration service in India have been very hot on
stopping swine flu entering the country, all competitors and
officials arriving for the just-concluded
World Junior Championships had
to fill in questionnaires and have their temperature taken
before being allowed entry.
were no problems at the Juniors, but the prevalence of the
virus has now caused the SRFI to postpone the Indian
National Championships, set for Delhi on 16th to 24th
That's not the only squash tournament to suffer from H1N1,
last month it was announced that Trinidad & Tobago were
unable to host the senior Caribbean Championships
because of the pandemic, although this one has been
rescheduled for the Cayman Islands next week.
Indian tournament suffering is the
World Badminton Championships, just starting in
Hyderabad, where players and coaches have been quarantined
with Swine Flu symptoms
That event has also been hit by the England team flying home
yesterday after receiving a 'specific security threat' and
being unhappy with the security arrangements in general
England defend exit
worlds begin under tight security
Schoor gets British Open
German player Jens Schoor has been awarded the
Wildcard for this year's British Open Championships which
will be staged in Manchester from the 8th September.
The announcement is not only significant in the history of
the British Open, widely regarded as the 'Wimbledon of
Squash', but also represents the first instance in the
professional era that a non-National has ever been appointed
as a Wildcard for a major World Tour event.
Having earlier announced that this year's championship will
'fly in the face of the worldwide recession', event promoter
Paul Walters explained:
"Sometimes extreme circumstances require radical action and
I can assure everyone with an interest in the sport that our
decision to award Jens Schoor the Wildcard for this year's
British Open has been taken after careful consideration and
without question represents the best interests of not only
the championships, but also the players, our sponsors and
partners as well as the sport in general."
Kuwait World Open qualifying
attracts players from 21 nations
Players from 21 nations – representing all five continents –
will line up for the qualifying competition for the Kuwait
Men’s World Open.
The championship will boast a prize fund of US$277k - the
largest ever offered by any World Open or PSA event - and
will be the first official sporting World Open Championship
to be hosted in Kuwait, from 01-07 November.
Qualifying will be held in England, at St George’s Hill
Lawn Tennis & Squash Club in London, on 24 August.
Thirty-two players will compete for the remaining sixteen
main draw places. The thirty-two entrants will comprise 27
PSA players and five WSF nominations.
The PSA players who will line up at St George's Hill later
this month are: Jan Koukal (Czech Republic); Julien Balbo,
Mathieu Castagnet, Yann Perrin (France); Stephen Coppinger,
Clinton Leeuw (South Africa); Mohammed Abbas (Egypt); Mohd
Nafiizwan Adnan (Malaysia); Ritwik Bhattacharya (India);
Scott Arnold, Bradley Hindle, Wade Johnstone (Australia);
Martin Knight, Campbell Grayson (New Zealand); Yasir Butt,
Adil Maqbool, Shahid Zaman (Pakistan); Robbie Temple, Ben
Ford, Shaun le Roux (England); Nicolas Mueller
(Switzerland); Dylan Bennett (Netherlands); Gilly Lane
(USA); Arthur Gaskin, John Rooney (Ireland); Alan Clyne
(Scotland); and Dick Lau (Hong Kong).
Further places will be taken up by five players nominated by
the WSF, via their national federations. These are Jens
Schoor (Germany), Aqeel Rehman (Austria), Rasmus Nielsen
(Denmark), Henrik Mustonen (Finland) and Abdul Salem Al-Malki
Egyptians set to dominate
US Open in Chicago
An all-Egyptian final is on the cards in the forthcoming US
Open with superstars Ramy Ashour and Amr
Shabana - ranked three and four, respectively, in the
world - the top two seeds in Chicago.
The $52k US Open is the first major tournament of the new
season and will be staged in the open air in Pioneer Court,
between Tribune Tower and the Chicago River, from September
The stage seems set for the event to celebrate an Egyptian
champion for the first time. Reinforcing their national
presence, and providing four Egyptian players among the top
ten entrants, are Wael El Hindi, the No6 seed, and
Ramy’s brother Hisham Ashour.
Behind them at No3 in the seedings is Australia’s David
Palmer, who was runner-up to England’s Peter Barker
in last year’s
Sweet Home Chicago Open, the first squash event in North
America to be staged in the open-air.
Boston-based Palmer, currently ranked six in the world, is
also a former world champion and world No1, which
illustrates the tremendous depth of the draw. Palmer won
both the US Open and World Open in 2002 and at 33 is still
competing at the highest level.
English players have dominated the US Open in the past 15
years, with four victories by Peter Nicol, two by Lee
Beachill, and further successes by Nick Matthew and Simon
Barker, last year’s Sweet Home Chicago Open champion, is
seeded four - ahead of fellow Englishmen Adrian Grant
(5) and James Willstrop (7).
Willstrop could spring a few surprises being seeded as low
as he is after a spell out of action following an operation
to cure a bone spur on an ankle.
"He is one of the most talented shot-makers in the world and
assuming he gets through he will certainly be a dangerous
opponent for the top seeds in the quarter-finals onwards.
"Peter Barker is also enjoying his highest ranking of seven
in the world and the springboard for his rise up the
rankings in the past 12 months was provided by his victories
here in Chicago and then in Baltimore, where he also beat
David Palmer in the final.
"Egypt is certainly enjoying an incredible spell of
ascendancy in squash at the moment, and only last week they
won both the boys and girls’ titles at the World Junior Open
"They have a wave of young players who are dominating the
world junior scene and the great news for the game of Squash
is that they all seem to mature into adult professionals who
have a wonderful attacking flair which produces brilliant
entertainment for spectators."
Adding a truly international
flavour, Finland’s athletic Olli Tuominen is seeded
eight, with Egyptian-born Canadian No1 Shahier Razik
and Indian No1 Saurav Ghosal also in the draw. All
three possess a track record of claiming some big scalps in
the early rounds of major competitions.
Another player aiming to make a name for himself is
Philadelphia’s Gilly Lane, the tournament wild card
who will be looking forward to pitting his skills against
the best players in the world on home soil.
Squash Australia wishes Chris
Dittmar well in his recovery
Squash Australia wishes Chris Dittmar all the best as
the former squash great makes a recovery from a minor brain
Dittmar is recovering in an Adelaide hospital after
suffering a slight haemorrhage in his skull shortly after
returning home from a bike ride late last week.
The injury is not thought to be life threatening and the
45-year-old is expected to be back on air in his role as a
television commentator and presenter early next month.
Dittmar was due to be guest of honour at this week’s Clare
Valley Australian Open, a tournament he won three times in
1988, 1989 and 1991.
“We wish Chris all the best as he makes a full and speedy
recovery,” Squash Australia president John Holland said.
“Chris was one of this country’s greatest squash players and
he is a great ambassador for the sport in his role as Patron
of Squash Australia.”
Australian squashers help
Australian squash has thrown its support behind this year’s
World Transplant Games on the Gold Coast in August,
with former great Michelle Martin to help the
Australian players prepare for their matches and current
player Cameron Pilley helping out the Netherlands
The 17th World Transplant Games will take place from August
22-30 on Queensland’s Gold Coast, with the squash
competition to be held at the Nerang Squash and Fitness
one of the most decorated squash players of all time, will
share her extensive knowledge with the Australian team at a
training session once they assemble on the Gold Coast.
She will then be present at the competition the following
week and will hand out the medals to the winning players.
“I am happy to be able to help the Australian team any way I
can,” Martin said.
“I don’t know how much I can improve their game in the time
I have, but I can certainly talk to them about how to
approach their matches and the pressure of playing for a
The Australian team could not ask for a better mentor than
Gold Coast-based Martin, a current women’s coach with the
Australian Institute of Sport.
The former world number one dominated women’s squash in the
1990s then had a fierce rivalry with Sarah Fitz-Gerald in
the late 90s and early 2000s.
Martin won three world titles, two Commonwealth Games gold
medals, six British Opens and seven Australian Opens in a
glittering career that saw her inducted into the World and
Australian squash Halls of Fame.
She was also part of the Australian women’s team inducted
into the teams section of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Karen, 15 years on
Karen Sander, a heart transplant recipient from
Brisbane, is just one athlete who will receive expert advice
Sander has always been an avid squash player, but in 1994
soon after giving birth to her second child she was
diagnosed with severe dilated cardiomyopathy. But thanks to
a heart transplant she will join with others by competing on
the squash court to show world that donations save lives.
Sander has won gold medals in squash at previous Games and
said she was thrilled to be meeting a squash legend such as
Pilley answers Dutch call
Amsterdam-based Pilley volunteered to run a clinic for the
Dutch team after answering a call from officials who wanted
players to help prepare their country’s team.
Pilley, the current world number 23, held the clinic with
fellow Dutch professional Piedro Schweertman in
Amsterdam last Saturday before heading home to get ready for
the Australian Open in July.
The World Transplant Games were first held in Portsmouth in
1978 and now attract 2500 competitors from up to 50
The International Summer Games are held every two years and
in the intervening years, the Winter Games are held.
All World Transplant Games participants have received a
life-saving organ transplant and are on a regime of
They must be declared medically fit to compete.
In issue #28:
Kuwait World Open starts in Surrey
5000 not out for Howard
Carla coaches in Iran
Palmer is Aussie rugby's secret weapon
Minisquash festival draws thousands
Schoosh fever in Italy
Simcock & Norman honoured in NZ
Jansher's Dad passes away
Rebecca & Leo scoop HK awards
Badminton England award