While the globe’s leading elite athletes are beginning to arrive in the English capital London for the 2012 Olympic Games, more than 750 of the world’s top senior-age-group squash players from 46 countries are converging on Birmingham for the 2012 SUBWAY World Masters Squash Championships from 20-27 July.
The World Squash Federation championships, originally launched in Australia in 1983, now boast 18 different events – ranging from Men’s and Women’s Over-35 championships to, for the first time this year, a Men’s Over-80 event.
Peter Fahrenheim is seeded to become the inaugural O80 champion. But the 81-year-old South African – a former WorldMasters O65, O70 and O75 champion – will not be the oldest player to compete in Birmingham.
Fahrenheim is positively youthful in comparison with Jim Dickens, a Canadian who celebrated his 86th birthday in May – and will meet 81-year-old Scot Alex Hamilton in the first round.
Australia’s former world number one Michelle Martin makes her World Masters debut as top seed in the Women’s O45 event. The six-time British Open champion and three-time World Open champion turned 45 this year – and is expected to meet compatriot Sarah Nelson, a former World O40 champion, in the final.
Senga Macfie, a 43-year-old from Edinburgh who is still playing for Scotland’s senior team, is expected to win her maiden World Masters title in the Women’s O40 championship.
Sabine Schoene, a former world No6 from Germany, is seeded to retain her Women’s 035 crown – while Masters newcomerOmar Elborolossy, a former world No14 from Egypt, is expected to wrest the Men’s O35 trophy from holder Renan Lavigne, the event’s No2 seed from France.
Home hopes rest with Peter Alexander, the top seed in the Men’s O55 event from Suffolk; Berkshire’s 62-year-old Keith Jones who is expected to retain his Men’s O60 title; Brighton-based Philip Ayton who is favourite in the Men’s O65 event; Derbyshire’s Adrian Wright, the top Men’s O70 seed; Gloucestershire’s former O70 champion John Woodliffe, the top seed in the Men’s O75 event; Kent’s Mandy Akin, the Women’s O50 favourite; and Yorkshire’s Julie Field, top Women’s O55 seed.
Action will be spread across four venues, including Edgbaston Priory Club, West Warwickshire Sports Club, Solihull Arden Club and the University of Birmingham where a spectacular all-glass show court will be erected in the newBramall Auditorium, on which many of the finals will be staged.