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29-Mar-07:
Whatever happened to squash?

What happened to the game that grew wildly in the 1960s only to contract as fast a generation later. Once it seemed there were squash courts in every suburban shopping centre, so what - if anything - went wrong?

Listen to the program or read the words ...

Listen Now    Download Audio
  

ABC Radio's
Mick O'Regan talks to:

14 years an amateur; in those days you could not accept a cent. Oh, shoes and equipment, yes. But other than that, no money. I mean going to England every year was extremely difficult raising the money for that.

I never thought about being beaten. I mean once you start thinking that, you should be out of the game, that's what I feel anyhow Mick. I just felt that as long as I trained hard, prepared myself well, then I was always in there with a very good chance of winning.

And funnily enough when you play sport, if you win easily, I mean I won a World Championship in 1978, and I ended up beating one of the Pakistanis, Qamar Zaman, in 26 mins.

But I've got no real feeling; winning that didn't feel right because I didn't feel like there was a contest. But winning this, my ex British Open against Jahangir, this was something special, and honestly, I had my father there to watch it, it means so much to me, and that's the one I cherish and the one I remember probably most of all.

I grew up with a girl called Suzanne Wood, who at the same - well she was about a year older than me, I promise you, she was twice my size and already a woman, and I was just this skinny little girl, and I notched up a win over her, I'd lost to her a couple of years in a row, and then finally I got a win over her, and that's when I think I started to understand that I had a chance to do well in this sport.

I enjoyed the volley. Some people are natural volleyers, some are more natural at trying to play drop shots at the front of the court. But standing in the middle and volleying was definitely my strength.

Squash is one of only two sports out of 190 that are affiliated with the Australian Sports Commission that are privately owned. There is no government support at all, for squash.

For example, I am guilty, I am sitting here in Perth, I own three squash centres, I love my squash centres, they were my life; I sold three squash centres and today they are blocks of flats. My family also needed to eat, and when someone comes along with a big fat cheque who wants the real estate, unfortunately I was at the age and coming off the circuit, that I thought I'd won Lotto, so I sold.

READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT        LISTEN NOW

The Hunt-Hiscoe Cup
The 2007 edition of an annual get-together for some of Australia's squash greats



Top: Ken Hiscoe, Dale Robbins, Chris Dittmar, Craig Rowland, Rodney Eyles,
Tristan Nancarrow, John Stevens, Peter Nance, Ricki Hill.
Bottom: Mark Carlyon, Adam Schreiber, Ross Thorne, Rodney Martin, Kelvin Smith.

Thanks to Scott Smith for the photo and Nigel Powell for the audio tipoff ...
  

 

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