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
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.
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
"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
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
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
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 ?
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!
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
"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
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.
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
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
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
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
Serieswas launched with the Icelandair Group Classicin
the Icelandic capital of Reykjavikin September. This was
followed by the Colombo Open
in Lisbon, Portugal, in October and by the Iran Openin the north western
Iranian city of Rashtin November.
WISPA Premiere Series
successful launch of the Premiere Series
initiative this year, the first event for 2008
will be held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.
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
With prize money
secured by WISPA and hosting organised by the Chinese Squash
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.
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
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.
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
WISPA Chief Executive
WISPA Unveil Premiere
With the twin
aims of both encouraging and providing extra support for new
tournament promoters, the WISPA
is launching the WISPA Premiere
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
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.
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
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
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 .......
WHAT'S MY NAME ???
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
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.
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
"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
Television coverage of WISPA Gold events is seen across the world
as a result of the Association's international broadcaster
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
Country names / flags may be added below the family name at the
discretion of the player.
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
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
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.
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
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."
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.