Peter Nicol MBE and Tim Garner’s gruelling round-the-world squash odyssey touched down on home soil on Friday as the Xodus 7 Continent Challenge arrived in London for its penultimate stage.
Nicol and Garner have covered thousands of miles this week and spent more than 60 hours in the air as part of their quest to play seven matches in seven days on seven continents to promote squash’s bid for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games. After six punishing days of travel and competition in the Falkland Islands, Santiago, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur and Cairo, they were made to feel right at home as friends, family and supporters gathered at the historic Royal Automobile Club in London to cheer them on.
The pair can’t afford to rest just yet, though, for they will spend barely 24 hours in London before heading across the Atlantic to New York for the Challenge finale in Stamford, Connecticut.
“It’s been great to be here and to see so many friends and family but the work isn’t done yet,” said Garner, who levelled the match series at 3-3 with a 3-1 (9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 13-11) win ensuring that there’s all to play for heading into Saturday’s match at the Chelsea Piers Club. “We’re both feeling incredibly tired but we know we’re close to the end now. I think we’re really going to finish on a high.”
As well as highlighting squash’s 2020 Olympic Bid, the Xodus 7 Continent Challenge is fundraising for two causes: The LV= SOS Kit Aid Scheme and Natasha’s Steps, a trust set up help young squash player Natasha Drake who is recovering from an idiopathic bleed on her brain.