30th Anniversary

• Cathay Pacific • Sun Hung Kai Financial • Hong Kong Squash Open 2015 •  


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30th Anniversary Edition
#2: Heather

We'll be 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 ...

"It 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 highlight."

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!"

Rachael Grinham

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."

Simon Parke

Played 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."
Phil Whitlock

Played 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 Jansher!"

Best: "At the Football club this year it felt like a little bit of home."

Three Words: "Iconic Squash Location."
#1: The Welcoming Reception

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 Welcoming Reception.

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 success.

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.

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30th Anniversary

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