Dear Presidents, Colleagues, Friends,
I hope you and your families are keeping well as we creep tentatively towards the light at the end of the Covid tunnel. PSA’s release this week of its provisional first half of 2021 calendar is hugely encouraging that the rest of squash will follow soon after.
WSF remains optimistic that most of its 2021 World Championships will happen, though the remaining uncertainties regarding how Covid continues to impact different parts of the world in different ways is requiring agility and cooperation in juggling the calendar to ensure enough nations are able to participate.
The WSF Board and staff would like to thank those nations working closely with us to find solutions. The current position is as follows:
World Doubles: due to on-going restrictions to enter Australia, the World Doubles scheduled for early July has been postponed. Revised dates are being explored for late 2021 or first quarter of 2022.
World Masters: feedback on likely entries from some of the big masters’ nations has regrettably led to the cancellation of the postponed 2020 Championship in August 2021. Instead, the 2022 World Masters will take place at the 2020 venue, Hasta La Vista in Wroclaw, Poland. We thank the hosts for their continuing support and their huge enthusiasm for hosting this event.
World Junior Championships: scheduled for August 9–20 in Cairo. A lot of work is currently happening to ensure a high quality player experience, with appropriate Covid safeguards in place. There seems to be a growing desire for juniors to get back to international competition. WSF is proposing an inaugural Under 21 Championship alongside the Under 19. Please see the separate e-mail already circulated regarding this event, and please respond as soon as possible to the survey.
Men’s World Team Championships: to be held in New Zealand in December. WSF and hosts are continuing to liaise closely to ensure this event can take place at the end of the year.
The Championships calendar is part of a long list of developments on the agendas of the Board, and with Regional Presidents and Executive Committee over the last two months. The Board will meet in 10 days to consider an initial draft of a new strategy for WSF and the schedule to consult with Regions, Commissions and MNFs over the coming months. Whilst we plan our future path, there is still plenty of current activity happening.
A new dynamic group has now picked up para-squash as part of a wider diversity and inclusivity remit. The various medical commissions are being aligned to give greater focus to the sport’s new responsibilities around anti-doping education. The WSF Coaching team is delivering its Coaching Conference on March 20 and a new Foundation Coaching Course, devised in partnership with SquashSkills, will be launched very shortly allowing our players to discover the joy of coaching and motivate them to take their Level 1 certificate. Squash 57 is extending its reach across the Regions, so if you have not yet engaged, don’t miss out on the fun. This is just a sample of the range of activities.
The launch of the World Squash Officiating platform is imminent. Having logged on myself, it is an impressive tool with the capability to transform understanding of the rules amongst players and develop a generation of new referees. When it does launch, we need your help to promote it please. Maybe we create a leader-board of new referees across nations!
Some of you logged into last weekend’s Squash e-Summit organised by Sportageous. A really valuable event that generated some useful insight, questions and suggestions. Hopefully the first of many such opportunities of a global platform for thought leadership on our sport.
Over the next two months we hope to update you on other developments such as WSF’s 2021 Conference and AGM venue/dates, arrangements for strategy Town Hall e-meetings as well as updates on Championships 2021 and 2022.
So many people across all corners of the world are contributing to the activity of WSF, and its two full-time and a handful of part-time staff that seem to keep an increasing number of plates spinning. Thank you everyone for your support.
I would like to take the opportunity of a special thank you to Liz Addison, who retired this week after an amazing 50 years’ active involvement in squash in South Africa and the African region. I hope Liz stays involved in squash in some way alongside a long and happy retirement.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please do drop us a line. It’s great to hear your thoughts.