22 October 2014
World Squash Day 2014 was a resounding success, with thousands of players taking part in some challenging and creative events all over the planet.
This time his feared forehand was slightly off his best as he registered 163mph in a head-to-head with former world record holder John White, head coach at Drexel University, which hosted the US Open Championships.
England’s world No.14 Sarah-Jane Perry recorded 144mph, which sets a benchmark for future women’s challenges.
In England, Team Winchester squad member Steve Wykes outgunned the top pros by recording an impressive 168mph during a World Squash Day doubles tournament at The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone, Kent.
Two English squash enthusiasts, James Roberts and Mark Davey, completed a magnificent marathon by playing seven matches at seven local clubs in the space of seven hours, finishing up at their home club of Lichfield in Staffordshire.
Australia also boasted possibly the most successful open day, thanks to former professional Aaron Willoughby and his East Coast Squash Academy.
Their activities at the Willoughby Squash Club in Sydney resulted in 60 new players joining the club.
In Poland and India, new media was embraced as players were encouraged to upload “squash selfies” and Tweet the reasons why they loved squash so much.
The biggest social enterprise took place in New Delhi, India, where a group of volunteers staged an open day for orphans and homeless children to enjoy a day of squash.
A spokesperson said: “These children train for free at the Academy run by Dr. Bharatinder Singh and we are happy to let these fellow citizens be the poster boys and a girl (I hope you can spot Tamanna on the left in the picture).
“They were invited to participate in the popular annual handicap tournament for the Merchants Cup. Each of them showed immense character to step on to the court and play, and also won some points against more experienced opponents.
“We must congratulate their coaches for instilling in them “The Zid” – a new word doing the rounds among our members in The Great Indian Squash League.
Zid means “Insistence” something that helps us all fight with situations in all walks of life. It translates as the ability to be at terms with the self and to go out and take on challenges without the fear of its outcome. Isn’t that why we play sports?
“Well, look into their eyes and try to read their dreams. These children have loads to prove to themselves and to the rest of us.
“The events of World Squash Day would have been celebrated at more glamorous venues, and in the presence of great stars, but, thankfully for us, these 16 Children (13 in the picture) who played on four teams were quite frankly the stars of World Squash Day in New Delhi.”
Across the globe, reports emerged of some fun events to promote the game, including fancy dress doubles, thousands of free lessons for juniors, and coaches cycling from club to club to offer free classes.
Numerous clubs simply opened their doors to hold open days to show that squash is one of the best sports for all-round fitness, with an hour of activity on the court burning around 900 calories.
World Squash Day founder Alan Thatcher was delighted with the response.
He said: “I have been inundated with reports of clubs and federations staging some amazing events to promote the sport.
“Squash is on a real high at the moment, with some fantastic presentation of the sport in the Commonwealth Games, Pan-American Games and the Asian Games.
“It was wonderful for World Squash Day to be featured so prominently during one of the world’s leading tournaments, the US Open, and we are already looking at some novel ideas for next year.”