Familiar faces on squash’s women’s professional tour, Ireland’s Aisling Blake, England’s Emma Beddoes and Australia’s Melody Francis were all voted onto the Board by the players at the WISPA AGM in Rotterdam.
Beddoes commented, “Having already helped WISPA in a number of unofficial roles in the past, I feel like I’d now like to use this experience in an official capacity on our board. I understand how tough it can be to raise sponsorship for events and to secure media coverage in a competitive market place but more than that I’m incredibly passionate about growing our game and really want to help make a difference in women’s squash.”
Blake was equally enthusiastic about her election, “For some time now I have thought about becoming part of the WISPA Board, as I feel I could add value to the current Board as voice acting on behalf of all players’ best interests. WISPA is approaching an exciting new era: a change to our name, a rebranding of our image, new tournaments to add to the calendar and growing prize money. I feel very proud of WISPA and our Tour and with that in mind I look forward to the opportunity to add what I can to the WISPA Board.”
Francis added, “After some years’ experience with the WISPA Tour, I feel I am fully equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the players’ needs and desires and can balance those with the demands placed on an international professional tour. I also feel that a continued focus on the development of our younger players and the expansion of the WISPA Tour is imperative. Since Squash Australia’s heightened commitment to the development of WISPA tournaments in Australia, I believe it is important to have a board member in Australia to ensure that WISPA’s presence is heightened in the region. The continued commitment and further expansion of the tour in Australia and its surrounding area needs to be secured and being able to personally interact with a board member would undoubtedly stabilise the process.”
The three players will join current Board members, Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer, Peter Goodman, Anthony Lee, new President Jaclyn Hawkes and Jenny Denyer (Tranfield), who stays co-opted. Hawkes took over as Acting President following Natalie Grainger’s decision to step down earlier this year. Jaclyn was unchallenged in her election as President and has already shown great leadership qualities and insight.
Line Hansen decided to step down from the Board after serving for two years, as did Suzie Pierrepont. However, Suzie has been co-opted onto the Board because her position in the US is vital to WISPA’s efforts to further enhance the Tour in North America.