Chennai will make its mark in squash history when the Indian city hosts the Squash World Cup at the Indian Squash Academy and Express Avenue next week, from 8-12 March.
After previously hosting almost all the World Squash Federation (WSF) world championships – including the Men’sWorld Junior Championships in 2002; the World Doubles in 2004 & 2007; Men’s World Team Championships in 2007, Women’s World Junior & Men’s World Junior Individual Championships in 2009—Chennai will now host the mixed team event, the JSW SDAT WSF World Cup.
The 2011 WSF World Cup will be staged initially at the Indian Squash Academy—leading to the final rounds being played on an ASB all-glass show court erected at the Express Avenue Mall, the largest shopping complex in southern India. This will be the first time in India that squash will be played in a shopping mall.
The world’s leading squash players, led by Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David and Egypt’s world No2 Ramy Ashour, will star in the 2011 championship.
“All these are indeed a testimony of the faith WSF has in the organisational capabilities of the Squash Rackets Federation of India and the Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association,” says WSF President Mr N Ramachandran.
The Tamil Nadu government and SDAT are solely responsible for ensuring this event is staged in Chennai for the next 5 years. This edition of the competition will also see JSW Steel joining SDAT as the title sponsors.
The organisers are thankful to all its co-sponsors, namely Express Avenue (official venue), TI Cycles of India, Karbonn Mobiles, Olympia Infratech, DLF India, Malaysia Airlines (Official Airlines), Courtyard by Marriott (official hospitality partner), Dunlop (official ball), Harrow (official apparel), Hindu (official media), Sports Mechanics (official online partner),Chennai Live (official radio), Tourism Malaysia, Sportz Power (official sports media), Sports-Locker, Bassam Apparel Studio, ASB and Advent Sports Management.
There will be video-on-demand facility available online provided by Sports Mechanics for all matches played during the event and a delayed telecast on the sports television channel ESPN Star Sports from 21-23 March 2011. Daily results and stories can be obtained from the official tournament website – www.wsfworldcup.com
The other organisations that have given the event full support are the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Sports Authority of India, Squash Rackets Federation of India, Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association and the Indian Squash Academy.
Egypt has been named as top seeds in this two-man-one-woman team event. Their team is led by the hugely-talented and flamboyant former world number one Ramy Ashour and supported by another former world number one Karim Darwish. Also in the Egyptian squad are former world junior champions Mohamed El Shorbagy, Raneem El Weleilyand 17-year-old Nour El Tayeb, ranked 9, 12 and 21, respectively, in the world.
Seeded to face the favourites in the final are England, whose strong squad (even without world number one Nick Matthew, who withdrew due to injury) features Jenny Duncalf, James Willstrop, Peter Barker, Laura Massaroand Tom Richards, ranked 2, 4, 7, 8 and 29, respectively, in the world.
Third seeds Australia will be relying on a three-player squad, featuring world No14 Cameron Pilley, former world No1Rachael Grinham and Hobart-born Aaron Frankcomb, ranked 44 in the world.
New national champion Camille Serme will lead fourth seeds France, while five-time world champion Nicol David will spearhead the fifth-seeded Malaysia attack.
Hosts India will be led by six-time National Champion Saurav Ghosal, ranked 24 in the world. Others in the team areSiddharth Suchde, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa.
Action in the JSW SDAT WSF World Cup will take place initially in two pools, with the top two teams in each pool moving on to the semi-finals.
The pool stage will be played at the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) from 8-10 March, and at the Express Avenue from 10-12 March 2011.
“We are taking the sport to the masses and I believe this will create a greater awareness amongst the general public,” said SRFI secretary general Srivatsan Subramaniam. Mr Subramaniam also expresses his gratitude to the SDAT and Tamil Nadu Government for their sponsorship and support, to JSW Steel for becoming the title sponsors, and to all other co-sponsors who have generously contributed to this gala event.
The pool line-up (with seeding in brackets) is as follows:
Pool A:  EGYPT,  FRANCE,  MALAYSIA,  S.AFRICA,  SRI LANKA
Pool B:  ENGLAND,  AUSTRALIA,  INDIA,  MEXICO
The prize money breakdown is as follows:
1st: US$50,000; 2nd: US$25,000; 3rd: US$15,000; 4th: US$10,000; Pool 3rd: US$6,500 each; Pool 4th: US$4,000 each; Pool 5th: US$2,500
Official website: www.wsfworldcup.com