World Team Championship Underway In New Zealand

The 17th Women’s World Team Squash Championship is officially underway after today’s opening ceremony at theInternational Pacific College (IPC) in Palmerston North, New Zealand

Players and officials from the 16 competing countries have been treated to a unique cultural experience, in a city now being dubbed the Squash Capital of New Zealand.

Blazing pois, a traditional Maori kapa haka group and a melodious performance of the New Zealand national anthem by the Manawatunes highlighted the ceremony, although the best was saved for last with the IPC drummers providing a dramatic climax to the proceedings.

France’s Isabelle Stoehr had earlier provided her own impromptu entertainment, breaking into the cancan as the French team were accompanied onto the court by the famous chorus line tune, while the South African team were all smiles as they marched in to the beat of Hakuna Matata.

However, the loudest applause was saved for the New Zealand quartet of Jaclyn HawkesJoelle KingShelley Kitchen and Tamsyn Leevey, who strolled onto the court to the iconic kiwi song Slice of Heaven.

The ceremony over, the players now turn their attention to the court, with the first round of pool play underway tomorrow.

Despite the last-minute withdrawal of squad number two Alison Waters through injury, England retain their top seeding.

Championship Technical Director Manan Mashruwala announced that there will be no resultant change to the seedings, as per the World Squash Federation rules. He says England remains one of the top four teams at the event, and under WSF regulations, if the team affected does not drop outside the top four, the status quo remains.

1st qualifying round – Pool A:
[1] ENGLAND v [9] USA
[8] NETHERLANDS v [16] AUSTRIA
Pool B:
[2] AUSTRALIA v [15] JAPAN
[7] IRELAND v [10] INDIA
Pool C:
[3] EGYPT v [11] SOUTH AFRICA
[6] FRANCE v [14] MEXICO
Pool D:
[4] MALAYSIA v [13] HONG KONG
[5] NEW ZEALAND v [12] CANADA

Full coverage of the Women’s World Teams

Official website: www.womensworldsquash2010.co.nz

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PSA
[1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng)
[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy)
[4] Ramy Ashour (Egy)
[5] Amr Shabana (Egy)
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[1] Nicol David (Mas)
[2] Laura Massaro (Eng)
[3] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
[4] Joelle King (Nzl)
[5] Camille Serme (Fra)
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