Squash In New Zealand To Provide More Competition To Follow In Paul Coll's Footsteps

Friday 6 December 2019, 11:46AM
By dave worsley

On the back of Paul Coll’s great result  reaching the world squash championships final recently and being ranked No.5 in the world as well as players such as Campbell Grayson and Lwamba Chileshe at career high rankings a series of professional squash tournaments is being launched for the summer of 2020.

The Barfoot & Thompson PSA Summer Series will feature five squash tournaments around the upper North Island at Satellite and Challenger level.

The Barfoot & Thompson PSA Summer Series has the backing of Coll who says it’s a great way for players to improve and hopefully move on to bigger and better things.

“Having moved through the ranks myself I know the incredible amount of dedication and commitment it takes to become successful in a sport that often struggles for financial support in our country and these events will be a huge boost for squash as a whole,” said Coll

It is an exciting time for the future of squash in New Zealand and I hope to see many of the players enjoy the type of success I have had in my career to date.  Having access to these types of tournaments can only help them achieve those goals.”

Currently there are 18 Kiwi men with PSA world rankings and 11 women which adds to the competitiveness between the players at a local level.

The series is a Squash NZ initiative collaborating with Squash Auckland, SquashXLPRO and a number of clubs. With the idea to help players earn ranking points kick start careers on the PSA professional tour and provide tough competition.

“Having a series of tournaments like this is great to keep up the momentum of the sport on the back of such great achievements from Paul Coll and other top players. Even New Zealand No.4 Lwamba Chileshe was playing these sorts of events in the past year and is now ranked 158 in the world. Also Japanese player, Ryo Kobayashi won the Auckland Open in 2019 and now has a world ranking of 97. A player such as Lana Harrison will also benefit from these sort of tournaments as she restarts her career and targets a top 100 ranking again.

The clubs are enthusiastic and so are the players. It’s something we need to do to give our players, officials, and clubs to keep the sport going forward,” said Squash Auckland General Manager, John Fletcher. “Having Barfoot & Thompson come on board is a great bonus for the sport and great to have a company which supports local sport.”

The tournaments are to be held at the Henderson Squash Club, Eden Epsom Tennis & Squash Club, Auckland Open at the North Shore Squash Club, Whakatane Squash Club and the Royal Oak Racquets Club. The Auckland Open will be a men’s a US$6,000 Challenger and a women’s Satellite. All other events will have men’s and women’s Satellite draws. All tournaments will be live streamed via Facebook.  Further Satellite events are already being planned.

Tournaments for the Barfoot & Thompson PSA Summer Series are;

Feb 21-23            Henderson Rochelle Hobbs Open & PSA Satellite,

Feb 28-30             Eden Epsom Doug Flint Memorial Open & PSA Satellite

March 5-8            Auckland Open PSA (at North Shore – Men’s Challenger & Women’s Satellite),

March 13-15       Eastern BOP Open PSA Satellite (at Whakatane),

March 20-22       Royal Oak Open & PSA Satellite.