The Truth about
the Thong Thing ...
article in the Daily Telegraph
about Vicky Botwright's new coaching role in Manchester features her
2001 'Thong Thing' episode.
Widely known in squash circles, the general public needed to know
that the whole 'Thong Thing' was a publicity stunt dreamed up by
WISPA, the women's professional body - amazingly, many people still
believe she actually played in that outfit.
There was never any intent to wear 'abbreviated clothing' on court,
and Vicky, as the player who volunteered to help generate publicity
prior to the British Open, has regretted it ever since, as it simply
distracted attention from her as a serious, world class squash
player, as well as an immensely likeable, bubbly and friendly
Vicky went on to become a regular in the world's top ten, winning
the European and World team titles with England, and was proud to
captain the team on several occasions. The Manchester World Open
will be her 'swansong' on the WISPA tour, having been ensconced in
her new position as Manchester Head Coach for several weeks now, in
which role we wish her all the best (see below).
No doubt she will be making appearances in Premier League, BSPA and
other UK events, so she will certainly not be lost to the game.
As a footnote, the thong itself (or a close brethren thereof)
resides safely framed at Tynemouth Squash Club, where it was
auctioned as part of a 2001 charity night in support of John Dale, a
PSA player who was suffering from a brain tumor. As well as donating
the thong, Vicky herself contributed heavily to the proceeds.
So there you have it ...
May the thong thing finally rest in peace ...
A PR stunt dreamt up
by the game's association WISPA, the British Open saw the
then-23-year-old Botwright thrust into the spotlight. She became
known as ‘Lancashire Hot Bot’ and soared into Google’s top 10 most
searched for terms.
Botwright claimed that conventional clothing could be “quite
restrictive", while Andrew Shelley, WISPA’s director who came up
with the idea, was humorously quoted as saying: "We don't have a
strict rule on this sort of thing, but we are concerned that
referees might find it difficult to concentrate on the squash.”
Botwright, who is due to meet second seed Rachael Grinham in the
second round, recalled: “I remember getting a lot of hassle from the
press. It was meant to gain publicity for squash but instead all the
attention was drawn to me.
“It was the governing body's idea and obviously was completely
staged. I didn’t go to one of the meetings I was supposed to attend
and that was my punishment. Always go to a meeting - that’s the
It resulted in a mass of admiring emails being sent from all over
the world, while she also received an offer from the Royal
Lancashire Regiment to be their official mascot. “I do regret doing
it but I had to move on,” she said. “At the time I felt huge
pressure to do well; I was ranked only 14 in the world but
fortunately I worked hard enough to get as high as number five.
“I failed to win the National Championships which was a
disappointment but this year I'm hoping to play here relaxed knowing
that I have something else to look on after the tournament.”
A new Role for Vicky ...
After dedicating her life to squash,
England international Vicky Botwright has decided to retire
from the WISPA World Tour. The 31-year-old from Manchester has
accepted the role of Head Squash Coach for Manchester City
Council at the city's National Squash Centre.
in 1998, Vicky has enjoyed a glittering career, reaching 14 Tour
finals and winning four titles, including the Texas Open in the USA
in 2006. Four final appearances in the last three months of 2005
took Vicky to a career-high world ranking of five in December 2005.
Away from the Tour, Botwright
represented England with distinction in five successful European
Team Championship campaigns from 2004 - losing just one match over
the period - and led her country to a sensational triumph in the
World Team Championships in 2006. A double medallist in the
Commonwealth Games in 2006, Vicky won silver in the Mixed Doubles
and bronze in the Women's Doubles.
"Vicky's record speaks for itself:
ranked as high as five in the world; winner of several WISPA Tour
titles; reaching the finals of events such as the Qatar Classic and
US Open - she's a bit special," said WISPA Chief Executive Andrew
"But these facts only tell part of the
story when it comes to Vicky Botwright. The English star has been a
wonderful asset for women's squash. Popular on court, the same off
it - and one of the names that promoters and spectators always want
to see in their draws.
"Manchester have chosen well," added
Shelley. "The players there are very fortunate and we wish Vicky all
the success that she will surely have in the next phase of her
Botwright's main duties and
responsibilities in her role as Head Squash Coach in her hometown
will be to grow participation in squash and racquetball from
grassroots through to elite. She will also be responsible for the
mentoring of the coaches delivering these programmes and to
implement the long term athlete development programme in Manchester.
"I have loved my time on the WISPA
circuit," said Botwright, who plans to make her final Tour
appearance at the World Open which takes place in her
home city in October.
"I have met many wonderful people that
have been influential in my life. But I am taking this opportunity
to work in my home town of Manchester on a programme that many
consider as world class. It's an exciting time for me and I am
looking forward to starting my new career."
A new Role for Vicky ...
Vicky ... the reaction
Yesterday we announced Vicky Botwright's competitive retirement ...
today we get reactions from Vicky herself, and some of her England
Had you been looking for a
coaching job, or did the Manchester position come up out of the blue
had been looking on the net at jobs for a few months but wasn't
really taking myself seriously, it needed to be something good to
tempt me away from the WISPA circuit and not just financially but
the whole package.
When I heard Nick was leaving I was instantly gutted that he
wouldn't be around anymore but then a spark went off in my head and
I thought, this is it this is my chance. It's been a tough couple of
months fretting over the interview, obviously being a squash player
I haven't had much interview experience!
It must be good to be able to stay at home to work, in an area
and conditions you know so well ?
It will be great to be in Manchester my home town. I use Sportcity
most days training but from the end of August I will be there
coaching and mentoring.
Manchester has a big squash programme already but we will be trying
to build on its success and expand, one of the areas is more women
and girl participation, Racketball and Squash of all ages. It's a
really exciting time for me.
Will you still play the worlds in October?
At first my initial reaction was not to play, but............... I
am going to play now. I realised that I will still be on court a lot
hitting with the Academy kids. My goal is to keep myself unbeaten
from them ... although if I do my job properly then I hope they do
After 11 years it's bound to feel strange -
relief or regret ?
It's not relief or regret, it's just that the time's right. When
you're a player you know, and my ego's far too big to want to drop
down the rankings and lose to people I have never lost to - it felt
bad enough when I dropped to number 11 in the world! (at least I'm
The thing is most players know deep down if they can make it or not
and it depends on what you want to achieve. I was happy with my lot,
I did more than I thought I ever would.
Any particular favourite places, tournaments, countries ?
The Tournament of Champions at grand central in New York is one of
best places in the world, the event is magical, the court the
atmosphere the people.
I was talking about this with Tania the other day and we started off
with Qatar and Hong Kong, then we said Apawamis because we love the
billets, Peter Briggs and the people. Then I was saying I loved the
event that I won in 2006 in Houston, which wasn't even big but again
it came back to the people.
So I have to say that it's about the relationships you build up over
years of visiting the same places that make the events good.
Brooklyn Heights, Kathy and Michael Connecticut the list is endless.
And of course the Commonwealth games in Melbourne, was pretty good,
but again my partners made that a great experience for me so thank
you Tania and James!
What will you miss most ?
PLAYING FOR ENGLAND. The chat with the girls! Dinners out in foreign
places. The competitiveness of scraping day in, day out on court,
the training - although I'm still going to do it!
All the people I see on a daily basis to make me the player I
am/was. I'm sure I will miss lots of things, it's been my life for
the last 10 years.
What will you miss least ?
All the flying, flying for 14 hours for one or two matches. Always
thinking about when to eat in relation to when you're
playing/training etc, always making sure you're hydrated.
What are you most looking forward to ?
My new job! Stewart making me dinner as I will have been out to
Describe your life as a squash professional
in three words ?
Battling, Determined and Fulfilling.
like to say a few Thank You's ...
Firstly I would like to say Thank You to my amazing parents
who let me convince them I could be a professional squash player 12
years ago. You funded me, supported me and fought my corner, I
couldn't want for anything more.
To England Squash and the performance programme. Thank You
for your continued support and belief in me.
David Pearson and Paul Carter, legends, what can I
say, you made me this player! Your commitment and dedication to
making me the best player possible never wavered. Thank You.
To Wilson who have supported me for 7 years.
To the EIS Manchester, Matt Cook, Jim Webb and
many many others. I swear that you guys prolonged my career Thank
You for your expertise and knowledge.
And to Steve Johnson and Chris McManus for shaping the
beginning of my career.
record speaks for itself. Ranked as high as five in the world,
winner of several WISPA Tour titles, reaching the finals of events
such as the Qatar Classic and US Open. A bit special.
But these facts only tell part of the story when it comes to Vicky
Botwright. There is a vast array of committed players with great
personalities adorning the WISPA Tour, all trying to fulfil their
potential; but ask other members to single out one girl with
abundant talent, infectious passion, great personality and so much
else besides and Vicky's name would be tripping off most tongues.
The English star has been a wonderful asset for women's squash.
Popular on court, the same off it and one of the names that
promoters and spectators always want to see in their draws.
As she winds down to take on her new coaching role in Manchester we
may not see her accomplished play and convulsed shoulders as part of
her drop shot, but when we are at England's national centre we will
hear her Mancunian tones and her laughing, so although her finishing
competitively is sad for the sport, she is not lost to us.
A sparkling career from a sparkling girl.
and I first became friends on a fun filled exhibition week in the
Cayman Islands and yes there are many naughty stories to be heard
from there but as we say, ''what happens on tour stays on tour.''
But it was a great week and we became friends and later on England
We have had our battles over the years as all the English girls do.
She was always a very tough competitor especially playing in her
home town which was where the Nationals have tended to be for quite
a few years now. So it is only fitting that she stays in the area
and takes over Nick Taylor's job, I am positive she will bring a lot
of bubbly fun and experience.
Vicky congratulations with the new job and the engagement, so I
guess the only things that are left are ''getting married and having
a baby'', which means your life is going along perfectly. I wish you
all the success in the new job, I have enjoyed working with kids and
I am sure you will have just as much to offer.
Congratulations on a wonderful career, you will miss the tour as I
do occasionally but life moves on and I know you will be just as
Take care, your buddy Fi Fi Trixabelle xxx
has been a great friend and England team mate over the last few
years, we've had some good times together and I've got some
She was such a great role model for me growing up in Lancashire and
I just couldn't beat her in practise or matches for years because of
my respect for her and how good she was and still is.
Watching her play when I was young was great, her guts,
determination and skills are to be admired and something all the
kids at Manchester can learn from. She's going to make a fantastic
coach and I'm really pleased for her that she got the job she really
wanted to do.
I just want to wish a great friend good luck and i'll miss her on
have lots of great memories of my time on the circuit with Bot, I am
really going to miss her, there have been so many good times that I
can't write them all down but two special highlights that I will
always look back on are winning the World teams in Canada and
getting a bronze medal in the commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
On court Bot was (and still will be I am sure) a great competitor
and always gave 110% no matter what. Personally, she was always
there for me on and off court and great fun to be around, I hope we
remain friends way after both of our playing careers have finished.
I wish her all the best in her new job, with her energy and
enthusiasm I am sure she will be great, and obviously I expect a few
free sessions at the centre!!
Bot, Firstly congratulations on a wonderful career. The circuit will
definitely miss your bubbly and friendly personality. I had great
fun training, playing and spending time with you while on the
circuit and I'm so pleased we have remained friends since I stopped
playing. I know Erin enjoys playing dolls with you!!
I wish you all the luck in your new job. I'm sure you will be great
success and the people of Manchester are very luck to have you.
Finally I want to wish you lots and lots of happiness for your
future life with Stewart. I'm so pleased for you both and I can
definitely recommend being married to an Aussie!
GOOD LUCK BOT. XX
of all, a huge congratulations on getting the job at the national
squash centre. We're sure that you'll do a great job there and will
inspire tons of kids to either take up squash or/and put the time
and effort into becoming the best they can be.
Good luck with it all and hope you have as much fun in the next
phase of your life as you had in the last. We've found coaching to
be so rewarding and fun and we're sure you'll find the same and
there's something special about staying involved in the sport you
love and have dedicated most of your life to.
Talking of fun, boy, we did have some really fun times all together
in various places around the world! Special times that I wouldn't
swop for anything. There are too many to single out but I do know
that having a great group of friends really made my years on the
circuit so much more enjoyable and I hope you feel the same. I'm so
glad that I have plenty of photos and memories of it all to look
back on from time to time. You definitely added to that group of
friends with your bubbly light-hearted nature. Now the squash kids,
your family and your hubby to be will have you around all the time
and benefit from your retirement.
Congratulations too on a great squash career, I'm sure you'll be
missed on the circuit....wow, there are hardly any us left playing
from our original group now!!!
We really hope that squash will bring us together again at some
stage soon, good luck again for the future and keep in touch.
Lots of love and hugs Lind, Laurent, Lob and Drop (our cats!) and
big bump! XXXXX
Vicky has been there since I started on the tour and from the
beginning was one of the most determined players around ... she
always gave 100 per cent and never once have I seen her give up.
As a younger playing coming through at the time it was great to have
someone like Bot around, not just for her attributes on court, but
also for how off court, she was always willing to chat and have fun.
We were given our first England caps together and I know how much it
means to her to represent her country..she has been a great team
mate and someone you always wanted to have in your corner. A team
mate that will definitely be missed.
With an abundance of energy and experience to offer the players in
Manchester, I am sure they will benefit from the appointment of
their new coach.
Good luck Bot ... you'll be great.