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News extracts from around the world, contribute

Issue #29
1-9  #10-14 #15  #16  #17  #18-19  #20  #21  #22  #23  #24  #25  #26  #27 #28

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 products.

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.
05-Oct-09:  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 statement.

“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 respective fields.”

The 26-year-old Nicol is one of the most outstanding Malaysians, having achieved fame by her remarkable results in squash.

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.


Britain's 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 Vegetarian".

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 animals' lives."

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

Former 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 program.

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 competes.

She has launched a website -- www.giftofasmile.org.au  -- 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 ...

Kiwi 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.

There 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 August.

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.

Another Indian tournament suffering is the
World Badminton Championships
, just starting in Hyderabad, where players and coaches have been quarantined with Swine Flu symptoms 
full story

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
Badminton worlds begin under tight security
Schoor gets British Open Wildcard

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 (Qatar).
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 02-6.

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 Parke.

Barker, last year’s Sweet Home Chicago Open champion, is seeded four - ahead of fellow Englishmen Adrian Grant (5) and James Willstrop (7).

"James 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 in India.

"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."

Tournament Director

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 injury.

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
transplant athletes

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 squad.

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 Centre.

Martin, 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 gold medal.”

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 from Martin.

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 Michelle Martin.
Karen's Story

Pilley answers Dutch call

The 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 countries.

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 immunosuppressant medication.

They must be declared medically fit to compete.

Karen's Story

In issue #28:

  • Kuwait World Open starts in Surrey

  • StreetSquash special

  • 5000 not out for Howard

  • Carla coaches in Iran

  • Palmer is Aussie rugby's secret weapon

  • KH 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

Shorts #28

Shorts #25

Shorts #24

Shorts #23

Shorts #22
News extracts from around the world

##1-9  #10-14  #15  #16  #17 #18-19 
 #21  #22  #23  #24  #25  #26  #27  #28

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