The eighteenth-annual World Squash Day was celebrated at the 2019 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships.
The finals of the men’s and women’s draws at the U.S. Open and the United Squash Hall of Fame luncheon and induction ceremony were the centerpieces of an exciting day at Drexel’s Daskalaskis Athletic Center. Egypt’s Nouran Gohar and Ali Farag won the Open. Two women—Ginny Akabane and Bunny Vosters—were inducted in the first all-female induction class into the Hall of Fame.
This year’s theme for World Squash Day was The Big Hit. America was in the vanguard of The Big Hit. Downstairs on the Kline & Specter Courts the 2018 U.S. Skills Levels Championship was in full swing. On World Squash Day, exactly 120 matches were played at Drexel. The 2019 Skill Levels featured 116 players competed in eleven divisions ranging from 3.0 to 6.0. US Squash introduced the ratings system in the mid-1990s and has hosted the championship since 1996. Thus, thousands of people had the chance to play squash, reunion with friends and family courtside and watch world-class squash at Drexel.
World Squash Day was on the forefront around the U.S. Six hundred and seventy-six official tournament matches were played across the country, showing the depth and breadth of the game today. It was a busy day for young players. There were seven junior tournaments: a bronze in Philadelphia; a bronze in San Francisco; a bronze in New York; a silver in Connecticut; a silver in New Jersey; and a gold in Baltimore. In total, 487 kids played a Club Locker-recorded match on World Squash Day.
Besides the U.S. Open, the other professional tournament on the American docket was across the continent in Los Angeles: the NBCC LA Open. The semifinals of the Women’s Squash Doubles Association event were held at the Jonathan Club at the same time as the U.S. Open finals. The two matches featured players from Canada, England, Ireland and the U.S. A major stop on the WSDA tour, the NBCC LA Open was sponsored by the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
World Squash Day was originally launched in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks in the U.S. Derek Sword, an avid twenty-nine year-old squash player from Scotland, worked as an equity sales analyst on the 89th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. He played three times a week at the New York Athletic Club and had just gotten engaged ten days before the attacks. To honor Sword, a group of New York and British friends hosted a memorial match in London in January 2002 which led to the creation of World Squash Day.
Each year since 2002, events have taken place across the globe on World Squash Day—exhibitions, clinics, publicity stunts, tournaments—that expose the game to many new people and sustain and deepen a love of the game for those already involved.