Cayman Islands Go Gold For WISPA

An increase in the prize fund has led to the 2010 Women’s Cayman Islands Squash Open going Gold, according to an announcement today by the Women’s International Squash Players’ Association.

The $55,300 WISPA World Tour event – the third Gold event of the year, from 11-17 April – will be staged for the first time on an all-glass court erected at Camana Bay, a 500-acre shopping, entertainment, office and residential complex stretching from the Caribbean sea to the North Sound in Grand Cayman.

Launched in 2009, the Cayman Islands Open has again attracted the world’s top players, led by Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David, with Natalie Grainger, in-form Jenny Duncalf, and contenders Rachael Grinham and Alison Waters all in the mix. Grainger will be making her return to the WISPA Tour in Grand Cayman after a seven-month layoff with a foot injury.

Indeed, the draw predicts a quarter-final meeting between David and Grainger – a repeat of last year’s final, won by the Malaysian!

Meanwhile, Cayman number one Marlene West, the main draw wild card, faces the daunting prospect of meeting 2007 world champion Rachael Grinham in the opening round.

Tournament Director Dan Kneipp is delighted to be welcoming back the sport’s top women: “The Cayman Islands National Squash Association is extremely excited to host the world’s best players to our Caribbean Island.

“We are very pleased to be able to increase our WISPA World Tour championship to the Gold level. Cayman has never seen a pro tournament played on a glass show court, so we know that there will be a lot of enthusiasm and public interest as this is set up on the waterfront at Camana Bay.

“Having eight of the world’s top 10 squash players is creating an enormous buzz in Cayman as we prepare to watch the world’s best competing for our international title.

“The WISPA pros were a huge asset to our junior squash last year, helping hundreds of kids experience the sport for the first time,” Kneipp added. “We again have 14 schools that will be doing workshops and watching the pro matches and we expect this to be an invaluable tool in helping us get more Caymanian juniors into squash.

“The Cayman Islands National Squash Association also sees this as an incredible experience for our Commonwealth Games team as we prepare for Delhi 2010. For a young, amateur team to be playing alongside the world’s best professional will only add to our team’s experience and ability to compete at an international level.

“We welcome the world’s best players and the international squash media to the Cayman Islands in April.”

WISPA CEO Andrew Shelley added: “It is always very satisfying to see an event build, and that is certainly the case with the Cayman Islands Open. The debut last year was memorable for being awash with local school children trying squash at the South Sound Squash Club every day.

“This year juniors will doubtless be a major feature again, but bringing in a glass show court too in the superb outside setting of Camana Bay will be yet another great step forward in raising the profile of squash on the Island and pushing the delights of the Cayman Islands to squash enthusiasts worldwide.”

An all-glass court to be erected at Camana Bay

1st round draw:

[1] Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier

[6] Natalie Grainger (USA) v Qualifier

[3] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Marlene West (CAY)

[5] Madeline Perry (IRL) v Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL)

[8] Kasey Brown (AUS) v Samantha Teran (MEX)

[4] Alison Waters (ENG) v Qualifier

[7] Laura Massaro (ENG) v Qualifier

[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Camille Serme (FRA)

CWG Delhi 2010 – A Squashing Success

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WSF Hails Commonwealth Games Squash As Major Success

The staging of the Commonwealth Games Squash Championships in Delhi has been hailed as an overwhelming success by the World Squash Federation at its AGM.

Led by 19 players from the men’s and women’s world top 20 rankings, with representation from 27 countries, the championships field was truly world-class – with England emerging triumphant in the medals table, followed by Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.

“It’s definitely the biggest moment of my career,” admitted England’s world number two Nick Matthew after winning his second gold medal in Delhi – his first leading an English clean sweep of all three men’s singles medals. Australia’s Kasey Brown went home with three medals (one gold and two bronze), while New Zealander Joelle King became her country’s most successful athlete, and clinched the chance to carry the Kiwi flag at the Closing Ceremony, after unexpected gold in the Women’s Doubles and silver in the Mixed.

The event was staged in the purpose-built 11-court Siri Fort Complex – which featured a spectacular all-glass showcourt surrounded by seating for more than 3,000 spectators.

“The crowds overall were sensational – most players agreeing that they had never experienced anything like it anywhere else in the world,” said WSF CEO Andrew Shelley. “The exuberance of the spectators as Nicol David paraded the Malaysian flag around the showcourt after her singles gold medal triumph will remain with me forever.”

“The Siri Fort facilities are a great legacy of the Games – and will surely kick-start the development programmes in Delhi as well as being another focus for events.

“We attracted visits from some extremely distinguished guests of the Delhi hosts, including IOC President Jacques Rogge; Prince Albert of Monaco; and HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex,” added Shelley. “All expressed their enthusiasm for what they saw.

One of the proudest squads competing in the game hailed from Norfolk Islands: “I know it is not as great as winning a medal, but it is a big deal to us that Duncan Gray and Gye Duncan got in to the last 16 in the men’s doubles competition in Delhi – and the two teams they got beaten by were the two Australian teams which got the silver and bronze medal,” said team captain Mal Rundell.

“They got a good number of points against them considering we had never even got close to getting a game before in the Commonwealth Games and even better that that we have only got 30 adult members in our club and we don’t have a doubles court to train on.”

One of the venue’s most impressed visitors was Sir Matthew Pinsent, the four-time Olympic rowing gold medallist who was reporting for the BBC.

“Squash would be a good addition to the Olympics – it is relatively easy to set up, especially in a modern urban environment, and is fast and exciting to watch both on television and live,” said Pinsent in a BBC blog.

“Crucially, the Olympics would be the absolute pinnacle of what the sport offers – unlike so many of the current sports in the programme (such as tennis, football and arguably now rugby sevens).”

“The fact that squash can compete with many of the sports already in the Olympics on many of these makes me think that they must be head of the list should the 28 sports ever be increased even by one.”


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