JULY 1999, London England
WORLD SCOOP – JONAH MAKES A COMEBACK.
After eleven years away from competitive squash because of a string of injuries that
would fill a medical textbook, the legendary Jonah Barrington, the man who
singlehandedly started the squash boom in Britain in the sixties, is making his
comeback. He will be playing in the 55+ tournaments at the World Masters in
Sheffield August 22-28.
Jonah has weathered the snapping of both achilles tendons and there have been hip
replacements. But he never stopped training and there is not an ounce of fat on his
body. Just to make sure he gets a good workout he has entered both singles and doubles
So far, 411 players have entered from all over the world, 317 Men and 94
women. Biggest single entry is 58 from eight countries for the Men’s 50+ event.
While American men are well represented in the eight male categories, there are no
American women so far. Although the organisers were worried last month at low numbers, entries have suddenly started pouring in over the last few weeks, so these figures are not final. I hope to be in Sheffield putting out daily reports to your favorite swebsite
THERE WILL BE A BRITISH OPEN – SOMEWHERE.
It is 11:00 hrs, BST on Monday July 5th and I’ve just come off the phone with
Stuart Courtney, the chief executive of England’s SRA, the Annointed Keepers of the
Wimbledon of Squash, the British Open. Tired of rumors, innuendo, sniping and counter
sniping regarding the Open, I phoned the man who should know. He was honest and
straightforward and didn’t avoid any question.
Here’s the situation:
1) The SRA Council have ordered that a British Open should take place in 1999 – without
cost to the SRA. (my italics).
2) If no sponsor is found, then the event will take place without prize money.
3) Contrary to reports that the Scottish SRA would not put money into a British Open (only a World Open)
Stuart says he has seen a letter from the Scottish Lottery saying they would give money toward the cost of running a British Open.
So the Aberdeen-in-November scenario is still alive if CPA Marketing can come up with
signed letters of agreement from sponsors showing enough prize money has been found.
Deadline is July 31 and a presentation is being made by CPA on July 19.
(That happens to be my birthday; is this an omen?)
4)Mike Corby has offered, if all else fails, to put the event on at his Lambs Club in
London, where the showcourt has seating for about 200 spectators. There are two other
groups also in the picture – but no names are being issued to the press.
BAJ GETS THE BIG ONE.
Did you hear that Harvard have hired an avionics engineer as squash coach? My sources
tell me that the best coaching job in American squash has gone to Satinder Bajwa, the
Anglo-Indian who started his working life at British Airways. But love of squash
overcame rational thought and for the last decade or so , Baj, as he is known
throughout squash, has been involved in every area of squash. From coaching at West
Point, to managing Jansher Khan, from running squash schools in the US with David Carr,
to promoting the Super Series in England.
There were some very ardent – and famed – applicants for the Harvard job,
but I assume that the selectors wanted someone with real international experience
at the top level. We wish Baj well and will keep a close eye on the Ivy League
SCOTLAND THIS TIME?.
With the World team championships rapidly approaching (September 17-22, Cairo) the
questions start piling up.
Will Australia ignore their number one, Anthony Hill,
because of his past disciplinary record? Will Rodney Eyles get back his fire with an
Australian shirt on? From my sources I hear the Aussie team will be Dan Jenson,
Rodney Eyles, Paul Price and Byron Davies – with Joe Kneipp and Paul Palmer as back up.
That is a very solid depth of talent.
My instinct tells me that the final will be
between Scotland and Canada. Peter Nicol and John White are a very strong pair in a
three man team (Martin Heath is the third Scot) There could be seeding problems: Martin
Heath, because he is still world number five would have to play at second string, but
White has beaten him 3/0 three times in a row.
Canada’s Jonathon Power and Graham Ryding also make a strong pair but with
Kelly Patrick ranked 46, they may be weak in the tail. Questions for England too:
Paul Johnson and Simon Parke are certainties but who for third string?
Chris Walker for his experience, or will they bring in a young blood like
Lee Beachill or Adrian Grant, both of whom have world team experience in the
Egypt, playing at home, should be very strong, but Ahmed Barada cannot do it alone; his second string will be 20th
ranked Omar Elborolossy and third string down at 37 in rankings, Amir Wagih.
Pakistan want Jansher back, but he refuses to play in the trials, wanting
(Read about the Pakistan decision in Pakistan’s the News International) So don’t be surprised if they drop out the top eight.
THE SECRET WORLD CUP
When I was in Maastricht I was asked if I would be coming to the World Cup.
What’s that? I replied, to the horror of the promoters who are holding it in s’Hertogenbosh, Netherlands, August 10-14. I make no excuses for my ignorance – we haven’t heard a word about it from the World Squash Federation – not a single press release has crossed my desk.
The World Cup is a team event, a team consisting of two men and a woman. So far 16 nations have entered with Australia putting up Rodney Eyles, Dan Jenson and Michelle Martin, which must make them number one seeds. England will be seeded two with Cassie Jackman, Parke and Johnson and Egypt seeded three. The closing date for entries is July 19. (Did I tell you that’s my birthday?).
By the way if you want to know how s’ Hertogenbosh is pronounced, call Ron Beck who
lived in Holland for a number of years. It really is quite entertaining to hear the
strange sounds emitting from his vocal chords.
JOURNALISTS WHO NEEDS THEM?
That seems to be the attitude at the top level of squash. Fewer and fewer
organisers are willing to provide journos with air fare and accommodation.
Let me tell you now that there is not enough money in squash journalism for
a writer to pay all his expenses and earn a buck as well.
At the first Al
Ahram in front of the Pyramids, we were flown in all expenses paid and the
resultant coverage made the Al Ahram an overnight legend. Do the
promoters and the PSA really want their major tournaments to take place in secret with
perhaps just the box scores appearing in some papers? How can the PSA and promoters
look a sponsor in the face and take their money if the sponsor doesn’t get the
exposure and coverage for which he pays?
Sponsorship is a hard-headed commercial
decision, not a charitable act towards the sport. I hope that when the PSA appoint
their next Chief executive, he is a marketing man, or someone who understands the
importance of marketing and hires a commercial advisor as his number two.
You can reach Martin Bronstein by email in the UK.