Players from Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire joined forces with squash fans in America, Canada, Barbados and Bermuda at the weekend to help promote Women’s Squash Week 2015.
More than 30 players aged between eight and 68, hit the courts at Ipswich Sports Club for a full day’s competition organised by Colchester-based Off The Walls Squash Academy and supported by Active Essex and Suffolk Sport.
Players in the US have staged events across the country for the past seven years promoting squash, voted the world’s healthiest sport, and have encouraged thousands of players, former players and newbies to hit the courts and give it a go.
They invited players from around the world to join in and OTWS coach Lauren Selby reponded by organising the Ipswich event.
“We had a great turn out for what was billed as a fun day’s squash,” said Lauren. “But, as ever, the competition and level of play was incredibly competitive and the quality of squash pretty impressive. It was great to support the USA on this one. The more women we can attract to the sport, the better.”
And she added: “We’ll be running more women and girls events over the coming months. National figures show that fewer females are playing sport than in years past. We are bucking that trend in this part of the world and we are determined to get more and more players involved.”
Ben Jackson, Sports Development Officer from Suffolk Sport added “Suffolk Sport was pleased to support the ladies’ squash event at Ipswich Sports Club. We were especially pleased to hear that women of all ages attended the fun tournament and exhibition, ranging from eight to sixty eight years of age, illustrating the diversity and inclusivity of the sport.”
Lauren also spearheads a schools’ squash programme that has seen several thousand children introduced to the sport and believes the message is getting through.
“Once children are introduced to squash, they absolutely love it,” added Lauren. “We send coaches into schools, even those without squash courts, and the response has been amazing. After introductory sessions in the schools, players are then invited to our squash club for tournaments and training. Looking at the numbers and listening to the decibels, I believe we are definitely winning the battle.”