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)

England Seeded To Reclaim Women’s World Title In New Zealand

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England's best!

England are seeded to reclaim the Women’s World Team Squash Championship title in New Zealand next month, according to the seedings announced today by the World Squash Federation.

The biennial event, featuring 16 nations, will be staged for the 17th time since 1979 at SquashGym in the North Island city of Palmerston North, from 29 November to 4 December.

Six-time champions England finished as runners-up in 2008 in Cairo, where Egypt celebrated a popular maiden triumph on home soil.

Led by Jenny Duncalf (inset), the world No2 making her fourth successive appearance in the championship, England will open their 2010 campaign against 8th seeds Netherlands, 9th seeds USA and 16th seeds Austria in Pool A.

Australia, champions on eight occasions since 1981, are seeded to reach the final for the first time since winning the title in 2004. The team, which finished in sixth place in 2008 and in an all-time low 10th position in 2006, will be boosted by the return of former world number ones Rachael Grinham and Sarah Fitz-Gerald.

Grinham, currently ranked 5 in the world, last played for Australia at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, but made herself unavailable since then due to a falling out with officials.

Fitz-Gerald, who has won five individual world titles and five team titles, retired from the WISPA World Tour in 2003, but has remained incredibly fit and still plays in the A Grade men’s competition in Melbourne. The 41-year-old led her country to success in the 2002 championships, while Grinham, 33, was the team number one in their 2004 title victory.

Hosts New Zealand are named as fifth seeds – but will be hoping that local support will help them reach the final, as in 1985 and 1992. The Kiwi squad will be led by Commonwealth Games stars Jaclyn Hawkes and Joelle King – who together won the Gold medal in the Women’s Doubles. King went on to win silver in the Mixed Doubles to become her country’s most successful athlete in Delhi.

But also making a popular comeback for New Zealand will be Shelley Kitchen, the former world No6 who will be competing on the international stage for the first time since the birth of her first child, daughter Amalia, in February.

New Zealand will line up initially in Pool D against Malaysia, the fourth seeds who are led by world number one Nicol David.

Defending champions Egypt – featuring the same three players, Omneya Abdel KawyRaneem El Weleily and Engy Kheirallah, who led the hosts to a narrow victory over England two years ago – are the event’s third seeds.

Pools line-up:
Pool B: [2] AUSTRALIA, [7] IRELAND, [10] INDIA, [15] JAPAN
Pool C: [3] EGYPT, [6] FRANCE, [11] SOUTH AFRICA, [14] MEXICO

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