Commonwealth Games gold medallist and four-time British national ladies squash champion Sue Wright has launched a series of roadshows designed to showcase the sport to female players at six UK venues this June
The roadshows – open to girls from five years of age through to senior ladies – are available to all regardless of current standard, including those who have yet to even pick up a squash racket. Wright will host and coach at all venues supported by an all-female team of coaches and instructors.
Explaining the thinking behind the innovative female-only move to take squash to the people, Wright, a London 2012 Olympic legacy ambassador, commented: “ Squash was good to me and I have stayed in the game since retiring, working in a promotional, ambassadorial and coaching capacity as well as commentating on Sky. However, I get the distinct feeling that there are fewer females playing the game at present compared to when I was on the international circuit.
“We really do need to do something to stimulate and promote the sport to women and girls of all ages. I am hoping that the roadshows will start that process. I want people – irrespective of age and standard to come along – and then hopefully come back for more.
“We need to strengthen and intensify the focus on female participation of all ages in all sport, not just squash. After the unparalleled success of the 2012 London Olympics we are now duty bound to deliver that legacy. And that’s not just to future generations but to anyone interested in playing sport at any level.”
The series is supported by England Squash and Racketball who commented: “England Squash and Racketball is delighted to be working with Sue Wright on her Women and Girls roadshows which aim to get more women and girls involved in squash and racketball. There is something for everyone from squashercise classes to mini-squash. Whether you have never played before or would like to get more involved, make sure you take up the opportunity to attend your local event – it will be fantastic fun!”
Each roadshow, supported by sponsorship from Head, will last three hours and will feature squash, racketball and squashercise. Venues hosting the roadshows are as follows:
- Biggin Hill Squash Club, Kent. June 8. 1-4pm
- Hunts County Squash Club, Hemingford Grey, Cambs. June 9. 10am-1pm
- Spring Health, Chelmsford, Essex. 15 June. 1-4pm
- St George’s Lawn Tennis & Squash Club, Weybridge, Surrey. 16 June. 1-4pm
- Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham, Warwickshire. 22 June. 1-4pm
- Abingdon Squash Club, Oxfordshire. 23 June. Noon-3pm & 4-6pm
Wright was keen to stress that the six roadshows are not aimed at unearthing a future ladies squash champion. “That is not the intention,” she explained. “The grassroots of any sport are fundamental to its ongoing development and increasing the number of female players is central to the future progress of squash.
“However, part of the initiative is also to set about providing better and more accessible pathways to anyone who wants to take their squash further. The sport needs to address both areas in order to flourish in both the short and long-term future.
“We need the sport to be in the healthiest possible situation on the run-up to the decision as to whether or not squash will feature in the 2020 Olympics. It is impossible to put a price on what that would mean for the sport if the decision goes in our favour.”
The roadshow series is also linked to the LVSOS Kit Aid charity which recycles sports kit before recycling it for disadvantaged children both in the UK and overseas. “ A special collection bin will be available at each venue to enable roadshow participants or general club members to help give underprivileged children a sporting chance,” Wright explained.
The cost of attending a three-hour roadshow is £5 per person which sees each participant get the opportunity to try all available activities plus a goody bag, free entry into a raffle and a free ticket to the final roadshow of the series at Abingdon on 23 June (see Special Note below).
All bookings should be made through the Sue Wright website at www.suewrightsquash.com
The final roadshow to be held at Abingdon Squash Club on 23 June will also include an additional two-hour session from 4-6pm. The session will feature a women’s exhibition match, Q&A and a “play the pro” opportunity for several lucky winners. Anyone attending a previous roadshow is entitled to free entry to this special session.
Sue Wright profile
Sue is a Commonwealth Games gold and bronze medallist, four-time British champion, three-time European Champion and is still the only qualifier in the history of ladies squash to reach the British Open final. A London 2012 Olympic Legacy Ambassador, Sue also presents and commentates on squash and will be commentating on the forthcoming British Open on Sky at Hull (May 20-26).