…Ageless Power & Nico … Indian Insults …
British Open Woes Again …
Global Gallery, September
Martin Bronstein, writes this month from London
© 2005 All rights
all photos© 2005, Debra Tessier
WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE…..
are Jonathon Power and Peter Nicol up to? Are they trying to drive squash
journalists round the bend? Was it something we wrote?
and Power are bound to meet again this season photo© 2005,
we were happily writing these two old pros off, watching them waft off
into the sunset of their careers, applying Nike logos to their zimmer
frames while we rhapsodize about the new young turks who are emerging
to take their place.
what do the old blokes do? They make a comeback! Not one of them, but
both of them. Power was first earlier in the year in Bermuda where he
dusted the young turks (and some older ones) away like so many flies.
Didn’t just beat them, but outlasted them, showed them he had a
lot more miles (and speed) in his legs than they did.
we thought, we got it half right, as we saw Nicol fail to produce his
old fire again.
in July Peter Nicol goes to the World Games in Germany (Power did not
enter) and he blew everybody away, taking the gold medal without dropping
a game. His victims included world champ and world number one Thierry
Lincou who was also seen off in straight games. And just to prove this
was no fluke, Nicol (aged 32) wins the English Open title, again without
dropping a game.
now, much to the disappointment of the other players in the top twenty,
Power and Nicol are once more a force to reckon with.
for goodness sakes, Peter and Jonathon, why don’t you start acting
OLYMPICS – JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF THE OLD SCHOOL TIE
probably read how Squash got screwed by International Olympic Committee
when the failed to vote it into the Olympic games even though there were
two vacancies due to baseball and softball being thrown out.
Christian Leighton photo© 2005, WSF
had a sort of media meeting in London, the squash press and the Org. men:
Christian Leighton of the WSF, Andrew Shelley of WISPA and Gawain Briars
of PSA, to discuss why squash is being almost totally ignored in the British
press. But first Leighton told us about his exploits in Singapore, where
that infamous decision was made.
took over an hour, but here’s two or three points that came out.
One of the IOC members told Leighton that while he liked squash and that
it sure should be in the Olympics blah blah blah, in order for it to get
in he’d have to vote off another sport. “And they are my friends,”
he said, as though that were a good reason when dealing with the most
important international sporting events. What he has shown is that the
IOC is another Old Boys Club. And an exclusive one at that.
there is an Olympic fund (big bucks)which is shared among the participating
sports. So with two less sports, the remaining 26 get a bigger share of
the pot. “More money for us? To hell with Squash and Karate.”
would also help, Leighton was told, if squash had someone on the Olympic
Committee. So naturally they are trying to persuade Susie Simcock to take
is the perfect choice; one of the most admired and liked people in squash
and one who had put an extraordinary amount of effort into obtaining Olympic
that has to happen is that she be proposed by the WSF and seconded by
a couple of people and she is a member of the IOC and can fight squash’s
cause from within.
the time of writing Susie is still considering the idea.
she want to become another member of the club
wonder what Susie would look like wearing the Old School Tie?
OPEN AT DEATH’S DOOR……AGAIN
luv a duck and blimey! Stone the crows! The British Open is in trouble
again. An event that was once the most prestigious in the squash world,
an event that was once likened to Wimbledon and that used to attract 3,000
people to the Wembley Conference Centre, has been postponed, almost cancelled
but is now being staged at England Squash Center in Manchester. That’s
like the Super Bowl being played at your local highschool. Sad, so very
fault? Nobody really. The fact is that ever since Hi-Tec came to the end
of their 10-year sponsorship back in the 90s, the British Open, like an
ageing chorus girl, has staggered around Britain looking for a kindly
rich gentleman to look after it. The Open went to Wales, then to Scotland,
and, when the Eye Group came along, we thought that nice old man had been
found. But while the nice old man had a g lint in his Eye, he did not
quite have the bank balance that had been promised and so after a couple
of years in Birmingham and then Nottingham, still without a solid, major
sponsor, the Open was due to take place this year at the Horticultural
Halls in Westminster. Sadly, John Beddington and John Nimick could not
find a sponsor and so had to cancel all arrangements and handed the event
back to England Squash.
it strange that England, one of the great financial centers of the world,
with London home to some of the major corporations, cannot produce a major
corporate sponsor. Do we need marketing men in England? Indeed we do.
NOW THE GOOD NEWS
The Lovely Lily Lorentzen, that fine USA junior who was unbeaten at the
World Women’s junior team championships, is now ranked third in
WISPA’s Rising Stars list. Number one is world junior champ Raneem
El Weleily, the only player to beat Lorentzen (In the individual knock-out
event), with Belgium’s Charlie de Rycke in second spot. Lorentzen
will be starting university around now and it will be interesting to see
whether she can keep up her squash development while doing the school
you think British and American tabloids can be nasty, you should read
some of the Indian papers. They hold nothing back and if they think a
man is a crook they will find say so using terms much nastier than crook.
of the favourite villains of the Indian sporting press is one N. Ramachandran,
Secretary General of the Squash Rackets Federation of India and president
of the Asian Squash Federation.
Some years ago he was accused of ‘buying’ the presidency of
the Asian Squash Federation by flying in committee members to the AGM,
members who had not been able to afford the airfare now found themselves
with free airline tickets. They naturally voted for Ramachandran, so the
Indian press told us. They also accused him of a dozen other criminal
activities, none of which was proved.
he is embroiled in another controversy. Here’s an extract from the
Poncha has won the Dronacharya Award for squash 2005-2006, amidst a
flurry of protests from a divided squash world. Poncha, 29, the first
ever squash coach to receive India’s highest honour for coaching,
had been recommended by the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI).
a letter to the committee on August 18, 2005, the Indian Squash Professionals,
a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) claiming to have promoted squash
since 1993, said that the Dronacharya would lose its ‘sanctity’
if it were given to Poncha."
letter attacks Poncha, saying that he was the National coach, a position
that he obtained not because of merit, but because of his close proximity
thing is certain, the bitterness will drive a further wedge into Indian
that’s not all. Joshna Chinappa, the world number two junior, is
very ticked off at Poncha who claims to have coached India’s best
known female squash player. Joshna says she went to Poncha for short time
when she was very young:
is not fair for Poncha to take credit to pursue his own goals. Whatever
I have achieved is due to my parents,” Joshna said, adding that
she had informed the offices of president and the Prime Minister about
Prime Minister! I wonder if questions were asked in Parliament. Back in
Britain I wonder if Tony Blair has even heard of Peter Nicol.
this was water off a duck’s back to Ramachandran who is, by now,
used to being vilified.
One of my beefs at the recent Mamut English Open was the lack of atmosphere
in the Crucible because the spectators were so quiet, their participation
rarely rising above polite applause. Even when two Yorkshiremen were fighting
it out, this largely Yorkshire audience remained mute.
Willstrop, doyen of English squash coaches, read my beefs and told the
audience not to worry about their behaviour. “We’re Yorkshireman
and we don’t have to do that sort of thing,” he said, referring
to their reputation of being blunt and unemotional. Well, nobody has to
do that sort of thing Maclolm, but it does indicate that you’re
alive and kicking. I wonder whether they are that silent when they have