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)

WISPA Align With PSA In World Series Launch

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The Women’s International Squash Players’ Association (WISPA) is announcing exciting plans to re-brand its top tier championships as WISPA World Series events, leading to an annual WISPA World Series Finals.

The first new WISPA World Series event will be this week’s Cedrus Investments Cayman Islands Open. The $68,500 championship, in its third year in the Cayman Islands, has attracted a star-studded field featuring eight of the world’s top ten women, led by world No1 Nicol David, who will be out to defend her title.

The decision is part of a growing plan by WISPA to work more closely with the men’s international players’ body, the Professional Squash Association (PSA), in order to maximise the resources and exposure available to both bodies.

“The new initiative will have a number of benefits,” said WISPA Tour Director Tim Garner. “Not only will there be increased profile and prestige of those specific events, but it will also ensure seamless branding at tournaments that host both men’s & women’s World Series events.

“Furthermore, there will be the opportunity for the top players to earn the levels of money that their efforts warrant – and the combined resources of WISPA and PSA will bring improved television and other media coverage that can only benefit the sport as a whole,” Garner continued.

PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough added: “This is an exciting time for squash. We have been in discussions with WISPA for a while now on the alignment of the top tier of the game and this is a big step towards this. PSA has been working hard on its media output and we look forward to helping promote the women’s game with the same TV production team.

“We are also looking forward to showing the WISPA World Series events through the online channel Squash TV starting next week from the Cedrus Investments Cayman Islands Open.”

The following events will make up the 2011 WISPA World Series:

• Cayman Islands Open
• Australian Open
• Qatar International
• Hong Kong Open
• World Open

“We are also in discussions with a couple of other potential events which have expressed an interest in joining this elite group,” added Garner. “We will be looking to grow the WISPA World Series to eight events, plus the World Open, in the near future.”


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