Big International Event In New Zealand Added To World Squash Calendar

Monday 7 March 2022, 12:26PM

By dave worsley


The biggest squash tournament in the nation’s history will be held later this year with the New Zealand Open men’s and women’s PSA World Tour Silver event to take place in Tauranga 7-13 November.

The New Zealand Open will be another huge boost for the sport with world No 1 Paul Coll and women’s No 6 Joelle King set to be the star attractions amongst a top-class field that will line up at the Trustpower Arena in Tauranga on glass courts, and battle for the lion’s share of the US$150,000 prize fund.

Greymouth-born Coll has had a stunning past 12 months on tour and became the first Kiwi male ever to reach World No 1 on March 1 and the first non-Egyptian to be ranked in top spot since May 2017.

The 29-year-old also became the first man from New Zealand to win the famous Allam British Open trophy in August as well as capturing titles at the Canary Wharf Classic and CIB Squash Open Black Ball in Egypt and yesterday the Windy City Open in Chicago.

Those triumphs saw him recognised at the Halberg Awards last month, where he was nominated for the ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year.

Meanwhile, Cambridge-born King has also been a trailblazing presence for New Zealand squash and has spent over four successive seasons ranked inside the world’s top 10, while her triumph at the 2018 Hong Kong Open saw her become the first Kiwi in 15 years to win a major PSA World Tour title.

The sponsor for the men’s event will be Robertson Lodges, while Barfoot & Thompson will sponsor the women’s event. Paul Coll’s own Iwi Athletica clothing brand have also signed on as a major sponsor.

“We’re excited to add the New Zealand Open to the PSA World Tour calendar for the 2022-23 season,” said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.

“Some of the sport’s finest athletes have hailed from New Zealand, with the likes of Dame Susan Devoy, Carol Owens, Leilani Rorani and Ross Norman all capturing major titles in years gone by, while more recently it’s been fantastic to see the incredible rise of Paul Coll and Joelle King who have emerged as two of the greatest players of their generation.

“The PSA World Tour already has a strong presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia, and we’re delighted to expand our global reach into Oceania too with the staging of the New Zealand Open. We look forward to working with Squash New Zealand and tournament organisers in the coming months and are excited to unveil further plans for the tournament in due course.”

Squash New Zealand Chief Executive Martin Dowson said: “It will be huge for New Zealand sports fans to watch and appreciate the talents of Paul Coll and Joelle King in person in a quality tournament in their own country. It’s remarkable to have two sportspeople ranked inside the top 10 in the world doing so well. 

“It’s not just squash players who want to see them live. It will be a massive boost to the sport having this prestigious tournament back on the international squash calendar and the New Zealand Open is set to once again be a very sought after event for 2022 and many years to come.”

Robertson Lodges Chief Executive Jay Robertson explained their enthusiasm to be involved with the New Zealand Open.

“When asked to get on board with the 2022 New Zealand Squash Men’s Open, it didn’t take long for my family to all agree that this was an event we wanted to support, Squash is a wonderful game and the opportunity to celebrate excellence in the sport is a privilege and honour for our family, and a natural alignment for Robertson Lodges. 

“After the couple of years we’ve all experienced, it’s also wonderful to have something positive and exciting to look forward to, hosting the best players in the world for a tournament here in New Zealand.”

Barfoot & Thompson Managing Director Peter Thompson was keen to help the game grow and develop.

“We are so pleased to continue our support of the women's New Zealand Open. It is our goal that sponsorships such as this will help the growth of squash at a community level through to those who reach professional status. 

"Having people like Joelle and Paul come back home to play will certainly showcase the opportunities for these up-and-coming players and to see where their level of play is at. Squash is a great sport that teaches commitment and the value of hard work and we applaud the ladies who take part in the New Zealand Open, who are not only incredible athletes but also fantastic role models. Our company is proud to be an integral part of the places where we do business."

The last combined New Zealand Open was in 1993.

The New Zealand Open will be shown live on SQUASHTV