The Global Gallery: Views on the world of squash by Martin Bronstein

Global Gallery Number Eight: August 3, 1999   ©1999 SquashTalk

[Who is Martin Bronstein?]

Read the past Global Gallery Columns:

[#Seven, July 5, 1999]    
[#Six, June 9, 1999]    
[#Five, June 6, 1999 (Power/Nicol head-to-head)]    
[#Four, May 5, 1999]    
[#Three, May 2, 1999]    
[#Two, April 2, 1999]    [# One, March 8, 1999]







AUGUST 1999, London England

POWER DOES A RUNNER.

In a move that stunned not only the squash world but the entire Pan-Am Games,
Jonathon Power, an absolute stone cold sure thing for a gold medal in Winnipeg,
left that city an hour before his first match and flew home to his wife of one
week. He did not explain, and asked for the press to respect his privacy.

Some wild rumors were flown, all dismissed by a Canadian squash spokesman.
Check the Toronto Globe and Mail for some of the reports:


[Globe and Mail Aug 2]
[Globe and Mail Aug 1].

[Press Release from Squash Canada]

We will tell you more when/if we learn it.

SQUASH TALK – FIRST WITH THE NEWS .

Remember you read it here first….Satinder Bajwah is the new Harvard squash coach. When we first suggested that the Anglo-Indian ex avionics engineers would get the job there was a great deal of scepticism (skepticism) from some quarters. But we were right and Baj is now looking to buy a new house in Boston.

IN DUNLOP’S WORLD, FOUR IS A GOOD NUMBER .

I was just one of forty odd journalists who turned up at Lambs Club in London for the official launch of Dunlop’s four new squash balls. And what a splendid launch it was; sitting at the top table was the bubbly Susie Symcock, Lambs owner and WSF Vice President, Mike Corby, Ted Wallbutton, the WSF, chief executive and sitting quietly in the middle was the man himself, Jahangir Khan another WSF vice-president. If you hadn’t already heard, the new competition ball is the black with two yellow dots and is slightly slower than the old competition ball. The single yellow dot replaces the old green ball and the two Max balls are bigger with an immediate bounce, designed for beginners and children. Both balls are described as having a longer ‘hang time’, a term which flummoxed me. I tried to find out whether it meant lighter or bouncier but they stuck with ‘hang time’. Susie interrupted by saying I would find them ‘fantastic’, which was not the sort of scientific explanation I was looking for.

We then got on to the courts and tested them. The Max balls have an immediate bounce which means they don’t have to be warmed up which can only be good for young arms. The Max Progress is 6% bigger and black. Why not use another colour? The Max is bigger still 12% bigger and coloured blue for immediate identification. All balls have the backing of the PSA, WSF and WISPA. And you get picture of Jonathan Power on the boxes. Wow! The Charismatic Canadian is one of four world champions that Dunlop had on its books at the time of the press conference. The other three were Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Ong Beng Hee and Tania Bailey. In the last week, Nicole David has replaced Bailey as the world women’s junior champion.

OH JAHANGIR, SUCH MODESTY! .

After the Dunlop press conference I grabbed Jahangir to ask him about the selection process for Pakistan’s team at the world champs in Cairo in September. The stories coming out of Karachi had reported that Jansher refused to go for trials and wanted automatic selection. The Federation pointed out that because of his ranking he would have to go through a pre -qualifying trial before he could get into the last six! This was their revenge for some of Jansher’s high-handed behaviour in the past. But Jahangir quietly assured me that Jansher would be selected even though, because of his lowly PSA ranking, he may have to play at third string, which would be quite ridiculous.

I asked Jahangir whether he has a hit with Jansher. He smiled and demurred. Well do you? “Ummm, well, um, yes we do,” he mumbled. This was like pulling hen’s teeth. How did you get on? A broad smile crossed his face. “We had a good hit.” More hen’s teeth. Did you beat him? A broader smile breaking into a giggle. He turned his face away. Well, did you beat him? I asked using my best investigative journalist’s voice. “Um, well, yes, I did,” he replied and broke into peals of laughter.

How much would you bet on a Pakistan team with Amjad at one, Jahangir at two and Jansher at three?

THE WORLD CUP .

Nothing to report. What sort of world is it playing in?

THE BRITISH OPEN MAY WEAR A KILT YET .

Nothing new to report. The three proposals are now in and the SRA are in the midst of decision making with an announcement due by August seventh. It will be on Squashtalk within hours, so keep checking. The Scottish bid is very much alive and kicking with the promoters having secured the necessary sponsors to supply the £100,000 prize money. So dust off your kilts and warm up the haggis. Failing that break open that cherished bottle of single malt and drink to the health of squash.

IT’S ALL IN THE MIND .

I can’t vouch for the truth of this anecdote but I was assured it actually happened. An old friend came across Jonah Barrington last week and noticed he was still limping. Barrington has had a horrendous time over the last decade, having snapped both achilles tendons and then, in the last year, a hip replacement, the cause of his limp before the operation. The friend asked Jonah, with some alarm, why he was limping so long after the operation. “Force of habit,” Jonah deadpanned.

WIN ONE, LOSE SOME .

I’d like to cheer at the guaranteed return of the British Open, but news has just reached me that the Australian Open has been delisted by the PSA for too little prize money, so it is no longer a ranking tournament. If that weren’t bad enough, this was immediately followed by the news that the Singapore Open has been cancelled due to loss of sponsorship. This was really bad news for players who had already booked their round ticket. The Singapore tournament slotted in nicely on the Far East tour, immediately following the Hong Kong Open and made the two weeks worth while for the players. Now it’s along way to go to get knocked out in the first round, without a second tournament to try and recoup.

THE MASTER OF THEM ALL FOR SHEFFIELD.

I’m delighted to report that the great Hashim Khan will be in Sheffield, playing in the Over 70’s in the World Masters, August 22-28. He will be joining Jonah Barrington, Ross Norman, Hiddy Jahan and Ahmed Safwat who are all looking for medals in the respective age groups. This is a very welcome and exciting gathering of squash legends among the 502 singles entries and 156 doubles entries.

THE WRIGHT CHOICE .

When the United States of America wins the world squash titles in the future, remember the limey exodus in the 90’s who crossed the Atlantic to take up coaching posts across the country. Now I hear that Sue Wright, British champ and world number three might possibly be moving to Boston to take up residency in a leading club. England’s great loss, US’s big gain.

You can reach Martin Bronstein by email in the UK.

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