The Liaoning Province city of Dalian is bidding to make squash history by becoming the first in China to host a World Squash Championship.
The announcement of the tender to stage the WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship in 2018 came during a press conference on the opening day of the three-day 2016 WSF Ambassador Programme visit to the coastal city of Dalian, hosted by the Dalian Squash Association in conjunction with the Chinese Squash Association.
The proposal to the World Squash Federation is to stage the biennial event in September 2018 at the Xigang Stadium, the city’s six-floor sports centre which boasts four all-glass squash courts. It is planned that action would also take place on an all-glass court at the new Olympia 66, the largest Shopping Mall in the region, with the final stages being held outside on an all-glass court erected on the Dalian quayside at Dong Gang Square.
“I was born in Dalian and have lived here all my life,” said Wang Guo Guang, the Dalian Squash Association Secretary General who is the driving force behind the bid. “The city has been a great supporter of squash and I would like to show my appreciation to the city by bringing the World Championship here.
“It would be a great milestone in my life and would make me very proud.”
Speaking on behalf of the Chinese Squash Association, Vice President Huang Kai added: “Currently, the most important event we hold in this country is the China Open. This initiative would give us a great opportunity to work closely with the World Squash Federation to bring a major new event to China.
“We already hold many national events in Dalian,” Huang continued. “It is currently widely known as ‘the Football city of China’ – we would like Dalian to become known as ‘the Squash city of China’!”
WSF Chief Executive Andrew Shelley warmly welcomed the proposal, saying: “The Chinese and Dalian Squash Associations have already shown how strongly they not only organise events, but promote our sport, so this – coupled with the enthusiasm of the city authorities and facilities available – make this a superb option for WSF, and an exciting opportunity for the players and officials who will come to Dalian.”
The press conference, to welcome WSF Ambassadors Low Wee Wern, the former world No5 from Malaysia, and Dick Lau, the four-time Hong Kong champion, was staged alongside an all-glass court at the 220,000 square metre Olympia 66 shopping mall, which is sited on the city’s former Olympic stadium.
(Pictured after the press conference (L to R): Huang Kai, Wang Guo Guang, Low Wee Wern & Andrew Shelley)
Sean Ang, Deputy General Manager of Olympia 66, said: “As a new landmark of Dalian city, we try to bring a special shopping experience for citizens, which is why we put this squash court in the centre of sixth floor of our building.
“We hope this court will help people to release stress and entertain themselves after work or during the weekend. Our shopping mall is always willing to introduce fashionable and healthy sport into the building to cultivate proactive and relaxed life style.”
The 2016 Women’s World Team Championship will be held in the French capital Paris, for the first time, in December.