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Nicol leads WISPA
promotional trips in Europe  Trip coverage

Malaysia's world number one Nicol David is taking time out from her hectic Squash schedule to lead visits to Switzerland and Italy this month to promote the sport in continental Europe.

The tour will include clinics, exhibition matches and press conferences in Zurich, Lucerne and Rome.

Nicol will be partnered by Ireland's world number nine Madeline Perry in Switzerland, and England's world number eight Laura Lengthorn-Massaro in Italy, along with WISPA CEO Andrew Shelley.

In Switzerland, the Vitis Sports Centre in Zurich and Pilatus Sports Centre in Lucerne will be the hosts, while Roman Sports Centre will be the activity centre in Rome.

"The reasons behind the annual WISPA Promotional Tour have been unchanged since we started in 1999.

"We have wanted to play a part in generating increasing promotional and general interest in squash in countries by bringing top players to meet their media, young and old players and administrators too.

"Our players give their time freely and generously, and this year finds Nicol David – on her fifth promotional mission for WISPA - spearheading the visit again, supported by Madeline and Laura.

"If past experience is anything to go by, the hosts are in for some great media interest, clinics and matches too.

"And conveniently, the Swiss leg finishes in time for Nicol to join up with the rest of the Squash group who will be making the second presentation to the IOC Programme Commission as we strive for a place in the Olympic Games - the ultimate dream for our sport."

WISPA Chief Executive

WISPA Promotional Tours 1999-2007



Local fundraisers take
Texas to new levels

WISPA is celebrating the fact that the 2009 Texas Open - the eighth edition of the event since 2002 - will be the biggest ever.

Bucking the world financial climate, the championship - which alternates between Houston and Dallas - will boast a total prize fund of $57,750.

Dallas SRA President Sanjeeb Samanta is pleased to report: "This year, we met an unprecedented milestone. While local corporations found the economic situation a barrier to supporting the event, nearly sixty individuals from the Dallas squash community stepped forward to fund 100% of the cost."

This support has enabled the event to elevate to WISPA Gold band - and already has world number one Nicol David, from Malaysia, indicating that she will enter the event she last played in 2005.

WISPA Chief Executive Andrew Shelley expressed delight with the success of the Dallas SRA fund-raising operation: "It is a tribute to the generosity of local enthusiasts that they stepped up to the plate when there was a danger of the tenth anniversary of the first WISPA event in Texas not taking place.

"And to take it higher too is awesome. Their reward will be a great week of squash and lots of interaction with the players and I am sure a great time will be had by all. They deserve it."

The event - whose title-holders include former world number ones Natalie Grainger, Vanessa Atkinson, Rachael Grinham and Carol Owens - takes place from 12-17 May at Life Time Fitness in Plano, near Dallas.

Full Texas Open coverage

WISPACalendar 2009

WISPA Promotional Tours 1999-2007

A Moment With ... some WISPA stars
WISPA to launch
Global Grand Slam Series

In a groundbreaking initiative due to be unveiled in 2009, WISPA is developing a Global Grand Slam major championships series to link with the Women's World Open at the pinnacle of women's professional squash.

Discussions are already underway with a number of prospective hosts for these events which will staged on all-glass courts in exciting locations - featuring prize funds of US$150,000 and with television highlights programmes being distributed to all continents.

Planned titles are Asian, European, North American, South American, African, Oceania and Gulf Grand Slams.

Each event will feature main and qualification draws of 32 players each, and will have places reserved for top players from the host region and country.

"Recognising the special status of these events, we will be introducing a new elevated ranking points band for these championships, together with the World Open - one step higher than our current top Platinum level, which features titles such as the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open.

"These Grand Slam events will add a major new tier to our integrated World Tour, which ranges from the World Open, through the Grand Slam, into Platinum and then to our Gold, Silver and Tour levels: A really strong backbone providing competitive and promotional opportunities at all levels.

"WISPA is confident that this exciting step forward will significantly strengthen the WISPA Tour as well as public and media interest as we go forward - and hopefully support the momentum towards gaining a place in the Olympics programme."

WISPA Chief Executive

WISPA to move
to PAR Scoring

In the first scoring system change in the history of women's professional squash, the Women’s International Squash Players' $ Association has decided today that all matches played on the WISPA World Tour from 21st July will move to what it terms Pro-Scoring.

The decision, taken at today's WISPA Board meeting held on finals day of the Dunlop British Open in Liverpool, will introduce scoring of 'point a rally' to 11 points (PAR11) - the same as that used on the PSA Men’s Tour. The initiative will be launched at the CIMB Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.

"After a 16 month period of testing we have assured ourselves that Pro-Scoring will work well for our Tour - it will be simple to understand for spectators and viewers, and align the professional game, the men having already settled into PAR 11," affirmed WISPA Chief Executive Andrew Shelley.

WISPA President Natalie Grainger added: "Pro-Scoring has been very enthusiastically received at our trial events so I am excited that we have made the change. It will take our players a short while to adapt to the different structure of games but I have no doubt whatsoever that this is another forward step for women’s international squash."

NOTE: Pro-Scoring is played best of five games to 11 points, with points being scored irrespective of which player serves. Where the score reaches ten all, the game will be won by two clear points (which will be expressed as 11-10, irrespective of the actual score, in the way that tennis tie breaks are written as 7-6).

So said the addendum to the WISPA release.

The intention was apparently to just ignore the "extra points", because non-squash people won't understand how games can finish on other than 11.

For one, the tennis analogy is completely bogus, and two, why on earth would we want to hide the actual score ?

11 reasons why it's a bad idea
A personal view from Steve

Bye Bye Brackets
Everyone sees sense 
WISPA Launches Patrons Club

WISPA is launching the WISPA Patrons Club - an exciting new initiative which will help to strengthen links with the developmental end of squash and thus play a larger part in supporting educational programmes.

WISPA Patrons will, through their support and enthusiasm to see girls' and women’s squash grow, play a pivotal role in enabling the Association to achieve its ambitions towards helping develop ‘green shoot’ support, as well as marketing programmes and general promotional initiatives.

Furthermore, at the elite end of the game, Patrons will help WISPA develop a promotional framework that will eventually enables more members to earn an income that allows them the funds to focus on their development and be well enough funded to do so on a full time basis.

The initiative is part of the new WISPA vision - i.e. more players, more nations, more media coverage……more squash success!

WISPA President Natalie Grainger explained: "We are eager to supplement the efforts of the WSF and member nations in encouraging girls and women to try the sport - and then, if they have the potential, to try themselves out on the international stage.

"Our main focus is our World Tour, but we want to be able to strengthen these links and thus to play a larger part in supporting educational programmes using our role model players," added the world No4 from the USA.

WISPA Chief Executive Andrew Shelley commented: "Developing squash is essential to our future, not only supporting nurturing the grass roots, but by actively taking members to new nations. In recent months, WISPA events in Iran, Iceland, China, Pakistan and Portugal - in addition to Vietnam next week - show the breadth of these efforts.

"We must also explore every means we can to raise the profile of women’s international squash, develop interest in it, and thus grow the Tour. That, in itself, will encourage participation and growth of the sport. It will also assist us as we strive towards inclusion in the Olympics."

Membership of the WISPA Patrons Club will be open to anybody who wishes to join in the WISPA effort to play a part in promoting girls' and women’s squash. Details can be found on the WISPA website:


Membership Options


If it helps you to have an actual DVD then please let me know and I would be pleased to send you a copy. If you have any thoughts / suggestions on how we can assist further please let me know.  Wispahq@aol.com


We hope that promoters, national federations and others who are involved in our sport will find it useful.

While we are growing based upon strong foundations and have a great bunch of athletes who are superb ambassadors, we know that you need tools to assist you as you encourage interest or develop events.

For now, we look forward to building upon a very successful 2007 with an even stronger 2008 for international women's squash, with interest percolating down to all levels of our sport.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful year.


WISPA Goes To Vietnam


After the announcement earlier this week that the first WISPA Premiere Series squash event for 2008 will be held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in January, WISPA has followed up by taking the WISPA World Tour to Hanoi in March where the WISPA Vietnam Open will be staged at the Hanoi Country Club.


The two courts at the Hanoi Country Club are having their floors renovated in time to welcome overseas players. While competing in the Vietnamese capital, the WISPA players will play with local enthusiasts as well as introducing media to squash.


The WISPA Premiere Series was launched with the Icelandair Group Classic in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik in September.  This was followed by the Colombo Open in Lisbon, Portugal, in October and by the Iran Open in the north western Iranian city of Rasht in November.



WISPA Premiere Series
goes to China


After a successful launch of the Premiere Series initiative this year, the first event for 2008 will be held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.


WISPA introduced its Premiere Series of events with the twin aims of encouraging and providing extra support for new tournament promoters.  Unrelated to prize fund, the new scheme recognises the opportunity to assist new events both in their execution and exploitation of local benefits.


With prize money secured by WISPA and hosting organised by the Chinese Squash Association (CSA), the $10,900 WISPA Hangzhou Open 2008 will be staged from 23-25 January at the city located in the Yangtze River delta, around 180km southwest of Shanghai.


The area is famed for its beautiful natural scenery - and an opportunity to experience it will be arranged for the participants.  Matches will be played in the squash hall of the Hangzhou Gymnasium.


"While strengthening our relationships with current promoters, it is also important for WISPA to take its Tour to new areas, hence focussing on this with our Premiere Series.

"Sometimes, as here, we have been able to find the prize money, and in conjunction with CSA, together with Hong Kong Squash assistance, we are very excited by the opportunity to assist CSA efforts to develop interest in squash in China."

WISPA Chief Executive


The WISPA Premiere Series was launched with the Icelandair Group Classic in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik in September.  This was followed by the Colombo Open in Lisbon, Portugal, in October and by the Iran Open in the north western Iranian city of Rasht in November.

"Squash is so embryonic in Vietnam that there is no national squash federation, and so we are hoping to encourage its initiation to add to the Asian Squash Federation membership while we are building the event to focus attention onto our sport."

"WISPA have again secured prize money centrally and this developmental event really does embody what the Premiere Series is all about

WISPA Chief Executive

WISPA Unveil Premiere
Series Events


With the twin aims of both encouraging and providing extra support for new tournament promoters, the WISPA is launching the WISPA Premiere Series of events.


This new category of WISPA events is not related to prize fund, nor is it a new type of tournament - but simply a new initiative recognising the opportunity to assist new events both in their execution and exploitation of local benefits.


To qualify as a WISPA Premiere Series event, the tournament will be in its first WISPA World Tour year, and in a country or region where there has either never been a WISPA Tour event before, or not one for a long time.


In addition to offering the normal full WISPA office support service, the association will also offer as much advice and material as possible to ensure that the event runs smoothly.  And, when on site, the competing players will be aware that they are at a new venue and try to assist with the introduction to local media, spectators and players.


"Whilst new location opportunities for WISPA are immense across the world, we want to offer every encouragement and support to any federation, club or individual that would like to consider bringing international women's squash to their region or country.

"We have had nine very successful years of annual WISPA Promotional Tours; and the Premiere Series is the next stage.  Where we can, we will try to find prize money to help kick-start events, but wherever the funding comes from, the WISPA office and members will do whatever can be done to give the debuting event every chance of success."

WISPA Chief Executive


The first WISPA Premiere Series event will be the Icelandair Group Classic in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik, from 27-29 September - the first ever WISPA event on the North Atlantic island.

What's My Name?

Following up from last week's WISPA story, Patrick Le Fur sends in proof the Val De Reuil women's team, National 2 champions in 2006/07, have long had their names on their shirts.

Including one now-retired WISPA member .......


Ah, yes, you're .... let me think .........WISPA has issued a new rule in its Tour Guide which is designed to enhance its presentation on TV - to assist with player recognition at major events - primarily for television audiences, but spectators too.

From the start of next year, all players reaching the quarter-finals of WISPA Gold and Platinum events will be required to have their family name on their backs.

"While we hope and expect that it will percolate downwards, this is the starting point," said WISPA Chief Executive Andrew Shelley.

"We want our stars to be more easily recognisable, especially bearing in mind that a good deal of TV coverage is filmed from behind.

"Even with our players wearing different colours when they are on TV - another WISPA Rule - we want to be sure that it is easy for the viewer to easily distinguish between each player," added Shelley.

Who are they ? Answers on a postcard ...

Television coverage of WISPA Gold events is seen across the world as a result of the Association's international broadcaster agreements.

Addition to Clothing Rule, (1st January 2008), Appendix F:

A (4) When competing in WISPA Tour Gold and Platinum events in all matches from quarter finals onwards all players must have their family name in block capitals visibly on the back of their shirt / top. The minimum lettering width will be 20cms and height 5cms, except in the case of names with fewer than five letters for which the following minimums widths will apply, four letters 16cms, three letters 13cms two letters 11cms

Forenames may be added above the family name. Size may be smaller or same size as the family name.

Personal website addresses may be used instead of a name as long as the family name is part of it and conforms to the lettering specification above.

Country names / flags may be added below the family name at the discretion of the player. 

mmm, not big enough ...With a few months to go before the new rule comes into force, it's a fair bet that players will be trying out various styles on their tops - the options for websites, country names and flags make for some interesting opportunities.

The CAPS rule may take away some of the creative element, but it would be interesting to see some prototype designs ...
send them in

Women's Tour reaches
new all-time high

With almost half the year still to go, the Women's International Squash Players' Association reports that the WISPA World Tour will break all records in 2007.

Tour prize money will break through the $1.5 million mark, revealing a 50% rise on last year. With the number of events up by a third on last year, women's international squash is very much on the rise.

Great locations, such as the Seoul Open

Further investigation shows that the number of WISPA Gold & Platinum events (boasting prize funds in excess of $43,000) will rise from six in 2006 to 12 this year - while the number of Tour events has increased overall from 42 last year to 70 this year. WISPA tournaments in 2007 will be staged in 54 cities in 23 countries, across all five continents.

"So many national federations, promoters and squash clubs are seeing what a great promotional vehicle WISPA Tour events can be. They are doing a great job for the sport locally, as well as the players and squash enthusiasts.

"We should also pay tribute to our players: They are not only great sportswomen, but superb ambassadors too. It is our members who are WISPA’s real sales team."

WISPA Chief Executive

"Not only is the Tour value going up, but the variety of events available to our members is increasing significantly too. This is great news all round."

WISPA President

EBG Los Angeles Open

Subway Ghosen Open

Seoul City Open

Gold Events 2007:

Scoreboard for Asian events

The CIMB Malaysian and Singapore events mark the start of the new WISPA Live Scoreboard which will see scores of matches in play updated instantly on the WISPA website, enabling enthusiasts around the world to be completely up to date with matches in play from many WISPA World Tour events, point by point.

Womens World Open

QA Challenge

WISPA Promotional Tours 1999-2007

A Moment With ... some WISPA stars

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