SquashTalk>Features>Global Gallery>March 2000 Gallery: British Open, Flanders, Florida…
Martin Bronstein’s Global Gallery

His Monthly Views on the World of Squash

March 2000, Gallery # 2000-3


Had lunch with Simon Redfern, former deputy sports editor of THE OBSERVER, Britain’s oldest newspaper. He was telling me that when he was at Nottingham University (1967-1970) he was the editor of the student newspaper. There was some chap called Peter who would ply him with squash reports before Simon even knew what squash was. But being the broadminded bloke he was Simon printed them.

Why am I telling you all this? Ah! You see that chap Peter (who was studying law) was the son of one of Malaysia’s 14 kings who take it in turns to rule the country. We all now know Pete as Y.A.M .Tunku Imran ibni Tuanku Ja’afar D.K.Y.R M.A.N. P.J.K.the former president of World Squash Federation and still a driving force in world squash, specially in the push to get squash into the Olympics.

Simon now plays squash and even though I used to ply him with squash reports at The Observer, the kiss of printers ink has failed to turn me into a prince. Such is life.


The latest news is that the contract between England’s SRA and The Eye Group, the sports promotion company that wants an eight-year contract on the British Open, will be signed momentarily. Actually they started talks in April 1999, so they are fast approaching their first anniversary. Each time I see Stuart Courtney, the SRA’s chief executive, he tells me they will be signing ‘next Thursday’.

Well I was thinking that like tomorrow, next Thursday never comes. But I was wrong. It seems that the Eye Group has changed its name to the Fablon Group and the contract has been signed. All details will be revealed on Monday March 13 at the fancy Queen’s Club in London. Unfortunately I will be flying to Canada to do post production on the official videos of the Tournament of Champions. But details will be emailed to Squashtalk immediately so remember to log on around noon EST to get the full details.


In very small type in the monthly PSA newsletter, listing future tournaments were the words: British Open, October 9-15 2000. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief; there I was gasping to get my hands on the date and I had been scooped by the PSA. Is that the actual date? PSA say it was given to them by the SRA but all will be revealed at the press conference on the 13 . Remember Squashtalk will have it immediately.


The competitor’s shirts at the Esso open have a huge Esso logo stretched across the back. Sometimes you feel you’re in a very plush gas station where the guys are very, very speedy around the forecourt. But listen, I am not mocking. This tournament is just one continuing success story: eleven years ago employees of Esso decided to run a squash tournament in the staff sports facilities. It was a success, so the following year they got a little bit more ambitious and each year they improved and enlarged it.

This year it is one of the few major tournaments on the PSA circuit attracting a 32 man qualifying draw as well as a 32 main draw. The venue was superb, the brand new Zuider Croon was built for lavish dinner theatre and resembles a smaller version of the Wembley Conference Centre home of the British Open for ten years.

The amazing aspect of the whole Flanders Esso tournament is that it is still run by Esso employees in their spare time. One man devoted his entire three week holiday to organizing the logistics.

Their energy and enthusiasm has been rewarded with the World Open for 2002. Prize money this year was $65,000; for the world open it has to be $150,000.Part of that pile will come from government sources because in 2002 Flanders will be celebrating 700 years of independence. ‘Who from?’ I asked. ‘The entire world’ came the reply. To celebrate they are trying to attract as many world championships as possible. Squash got in first. Yeah!


Ran into the president of Squash Venezuela, Francisco Paradisi. (That’s a helluva name to live up to, no?) She was in Flanders to promote the Florida Open scheduled for November 6-12 in The Sports Mall in Deerfield Beach. She said when she arrived in Flanders to promote it, the tournament was just a 16 man draw. When she left, those smooth talkers at the PSA had upped it to a full 32 man draw. More info from ciscol@omnes.net or (582)753-6837


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page posted 03/10/2000