England Squash prepare at Surrey Sports Park
27 July 2011
World number one and Commonwealth gold medal winner Nick Matthew and his fellow English counterparts are at Surrey Sports Park ahead of the Australian Open and World Team Championships next month.
Nick is joined by world number four and fellow Commonwealth finalist James Willstrop, number 12 Daryl Selby and number 18 Adrian Grant, along with Peter Barker (world number 7) who is making his second visit to the venue in a week following the successful Squash Festival last weekend. The players face two tough tests in August, with the Australian Open in Canberra from August 8th and the men’s World Team Championships in Germany from August 21st. England stand a fair chance of success at both tournaments, with 4 of the top 12 players in their ranks. Despite going into the events seeded number 2 behind Egypt the players are confident of coming away as champions.
The Team are here for a 3 day training camp, making use of the world class facilities on offer at Surrey Sports Park. Peter Barker is enjoying his second visit in quick succession after hailing Saturday’s Squash Festival a success and is confident before heading to Australia next week to begin further preparations: “It’s good to play again. I am hoping to reach at least the quarter finals and I feel ready to achieve that.”
Keir Worth, Head of Coaching and Performance, praises the facilities and the hospitality shown by everyone here, commenting on how the surroundings have a “home from home” feel which allows the players to train at their best. Keir also recognises the benefits of having junior players present watching their role models and some of the world’s top players train and perform.
With one year until London 2012, where Squash was very close to being included in the programme of sports, Keir feels frustrated for his players who would love to have the opportunity to perform on the biggest sporting stage in the world: “Squash creates drama. The physical demands are above many other professional sports. TV coverage is better than ever but its up to us to share what we do, up to us to change the exposure and public interest in the sport. Inclusion in the Olympics would increase awareness and funding and it fits in with the spirit and enthusiasm that comes with the Games.” Peter echoes the disappointment that squash has once again been overlooked, not just for 2012 but for 2016 too. He believes that 2020 inclusion is a target to work towards, but one that involves a tough uphill battle.
Surrey Sports Park wishes Nick, James, Peter and Daryl luck in Australia and Germany. Keep up to date with their progress throughout August on our website and via the England Squash & Racketball homepage.