The World Squash Federation is celebrating a highly successful presentation of the sport at the World Games in Poland, where Germany claimed gold for the first time and France became the first country to sweep the board with gold, silver and bronze.
Squash was making its fifth appearance in the multi-sport event for non-Olympic programme sports in the city of Wroclaw – at the 33-court Hasta la Vistaclub, the largest squash club in the world.
Before a packed and exuberant crowd surrounding the all-glass showcourt at Hasta la Vista, world No.3 Camille Serme crowned the French success by beating surprise opponent Joey Chan, of Hong Kong, in the women’s final, before top-seeded German Simon Rösner denied France double gold by overcoming Gregoire Marche in four games in a dramatic men’s climax.
Malaysian Nicol David, the former world number one who went into the Games with three gold medals to her credit, won a record fourth successive medal after claiming bronze in the women’s championship.
“Squash is a fast-growing sport in Poland and the local federation, led by President Tomasz Banasiak, did a great job in promoting the event,” said World Squash Federation President Jacques Fontaine.
“Rösner’s run attracted significant media interest in his homeland and various members of the French NOC board witnessed the country’s success on finals day after also attending last year’s Women’s World Team Championships in Paris.”
Frenchman Fontaine was accompanied by WSF Vice President Pablo Serna, President of the Colombian Squash Federation, throughout the 2017 World Games.
“We met various several IOC members and were delighted that both IWGA President and IOC member José Perurena, and IOC Sports Coordination Manager Mike Joyce, were able to join us on finals day.
(Pictured on the Hasta la Vista showcourt on finals day (L to R): Mike Joyce, Sports Coordination Manager, Sports Department, IOC; Jacques Fontaine, President of the World Squash Federation; José Perurena, President of the IWGA & IOC Member; Pablo Serna, Vice President, World Squash Federation; & President, Squash Colombia; Tomasz Banasiak, President of the Polish Squash Federation; & Jean-Denis Barbet, President, Fédération Française de Squash)
“Squash is enjoying growing status in multi-sport events and can look forward to forthcoming Pan American, Asian & Commonwealth Games participation,”added Fontaine. “The news that we will now be part of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires next year has been widely-welcomed around the world and has undoubtedly promoted squash in the Sport & Olympic fraternity.
“Our showcase at the Wroclaw World Games, at a superb venue with great crowds, was an overwhelming success,” Fontaine concluded.
“I feel that WSF has produced a new ‘face’ based on a ‘real team’ here in Wroclaw. We have also put the sport of squash and its athletes at the centre of all discussions.”
(Bronze medallist Nicol David being congratulated on her record fourth successive World Games medal by IWGA President José Perurena, right, and WSF VP Pablo Serna, centre)
World Games images courtesy of theworldgames2017.com