talking to some of the driving forces and players and organisers
involved in the 30 years of the HK Open, and where better to
start than with Heather Deayton, who 30 years ago was HK
Squash Executive Secretary, was the Tournament Director from the
start until 2006, and has been heavily involved with and
inexorably linked to every even since ...
all started at the ISRC (Island Squash Rackets Club) office when
we talked about holding an Open.
"At that time the HK Chairman Michael Miles was also chairman of
Cathay Pacific, and the late Honorory Secretary Philip Lee,
National Coach Peter Harvey and the rest of the Executive
Committee were behind the idea.
"We were looking for a sponsor so Cathay Pacific stepped in, and
the first event was held at ISRC while the current Squash Centre
and Hong Kong Park were being cleared and rebuilt.
"The winner of that first event was Phil Kenyon, beating Steve
Bowditch, and the rest is history!"
Best moment: "The progress of the Hong Kong players over
the years, Annie reaching the semi-finals was a particular
Worst moment: "Cancelling the event in 2003 due to the
SARS outbreak. It's a highlight of the year and that year was
missing its highlight."
HK Open in Three Words: "It's the Best!"
The longest-serving of the current players, playing in her 14th
consecutive event, 13 quarter-finals or better.
Best: "The first time I was here it was a pivotal moment
in my career - it wasn't the Open, but a $20k event and I got
two of my best wins, over Grainger and Bailey to take the title.
"I remember looking at the trophy and thinking I never thought
I'd get my name on the same trophy as Sarah Fitz-Gerald!"
Worst: "There isn't one."
Three Words: "Lung Quai Fong."
in the Open from '92 to '04 (10 events, 2 semis, 5 quarters ),
now here as one of the SquashTV commentators.
"It's one of the best events, one of my favourites, the location
and the friendliness of the supporters, the tournament team and
Hong Kong itself is special."
Best : "Beating Peter Marshall on Centre Court when he
was world #2 and I was outside the top 20."
Worst : "Playing Mir Zaman Gul in the quarters. After the
fourth I had some tummy troubles and was desperate to go to the
loo, ran around and down the stairs, got back just in time and
had no rest at all, only to find there was a toilet right next
to the court! I did win the fifth though."
Three words: "Squash, Beer, Trams."
in the Open from '88 to '95 (6 events), now here with Emily
Worst: "We used to play in August and the schedule and
humidity were brutal.
One year I'd trained really hard, played in Malaysia, Singapore
and here, got Nancarrow, Dittmar and Jansher in the first
rounds, had two brutal 90-minute 3-1 losses then had to play
Best: "At the Football club this year it felt like a
little bit of home."
Three Words: "Iconic Squash Location."
To commemorate the 30th Anniversary Edition of the Hong Kong
Open, we'll be talking to some of the Organisers, Players,
Officials and Fans who have been involved for a number of years
(hopefully we'll find a few who have seen all 30!)
To start the ball rolling the Welcoming Reception was
held at HKFC after the qualifying finals (well, one was still
going on) and HK Squash Chairman David Mui set the scene,
mentioning in his opening speech that many of the attendees to
the function weren't born when the event started !!
Here's the text from HK Squash, and a few photos (more
in the gallery) ...
To celebrate the 30th Anniversary and commence the Cathay
Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open 2015, we
have all the honorable guests and players participating in the
After the welcoming speech from Mr. David Mui, MH, JP, Chairman
of Hong Kong Squash and the President of Asian Squash Federation
and the speech from The honorable Mrs. Betty Fung JP, Permanent
Secretary for Home Affairs ...
Mr. Mui and Mrs. Fung together with all VIP guests including Mr.
Julian Lyden, General Manager, Marketing, Loyalty Programmes and
CRM, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, Mr. William Leung, BBS, JP,
Chief Executive Officer of Sun Hung Kai Financial Ltd , Dr. York
Chow, GBS, JP, Chairperson of Equal Opportunities Commission and
WSF Ambassador for Squash, Miss Veronica Shiu, Miss Hong Kong
2014, Miss Iris Lam, Miss Friendship 2015 and Mr. William Ko,
BBS, MH, Chairman, Major Sports Events Committee respectively
proposed a toast to wish the tournament all the best and
Most top players including the women’s world no. 1 and 2, Raneem
El Welily and Nicol David as well as the new men’s world
champion Gregory Gaultier and men's world no. 1, Mohamed
Elshorbagy together with the local top players Annie Au Wing-chi
and Max Lee Ho-yin, also attended the Welcoming Reception.
They all enjoyed the wonderful and precious moment to hang out
with other players, sponsor and friends in a relaxing atmosphere
before starting the intensive week tomorrow.