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It’s time for KL Open Squash Championship once again, an international tournament with players coming from all corners of the world. Many are aware of my ‘link’ with squash. Although I have never played the game nor a big fan of the game, I’ve had the ‘squash connection’ through my very first web project back in 1998 known as the “Nicol David Online” which is still around for 11-consecutive years.
Throughout my stint as a webmaster of NicolDavidOnline.com, I’ve managed to watch a few Nicol David games whenever there are tournaments in Malaysia. My previous Malaysia Open report/photos can be read here.
A few hours ago, I had the chance once again to attend a Nicol David game at 2009 CIMB KL Open Championship. Here are some photos. My apology for the quality of the photos as it was very dark at the spectators stand and my camera is far from being ‘professional equipment. Nevertheless, enjoy!
The Tournament banner/bunting, good souvenir, no? hehe
When I arrived, the arena was filled up to about 60%. They were either players, coaches, family members, media or cleaners. I felt a bit out-of-place as I don’t belong in any of these categories of people. It’s normal as seldom there are outsiders on the 1st round held on a working day.
My timing was right. Nicol is warming up when I arrived.
I wonder what music she listens to….
Madeline Perry of Ireland, the opponent for today
I was sandwiched in between reporters and their crew (video, photographers)
ESPN was there as well
I accidentally bumped into the reporter….felt bad for her, got too excited trying to take Nicol’s photos.
Let the game begins…
“head or tail”?
It was a short 26-minutes straight set game. A good start for Nicol.
A kiss from her Dad.
The After-Game Interview
Before I left, managed to snap a few photos of Sharon Wee playing against Jenny Duncalf. Too bad she lost, otherwise would be great to see her in the quarters.
Anyone up to cover the remaining games till this weekend at Berjaya Times Square? I’ll be away for the rest of the week.
The World Squash Federation (WSF) has appointed London based international sports marketing agency, Juniper PR, to manage its global communications programme in support of its campaign to elevate squash to Olympic status for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Juniper PR, established over a year ago by Susan McMahon, (previously Managing Director of Bell Pottinger Sport), won the prestigious account in a five-way pitch. McMahon’s vast experience which includes a prominent media role with the Beijing Olympic Bid (BOCOG) and members of her team’s involvement with the 2008 Olympics as media facilitators helped Juniper secure the contract. The initial contract will last for eight months, culminating in an IOC vote in Copenhagen in October when up to two sports out of seven currently bidding, may be accepted into the Olympic charter.
Squash is played in 175 countries by over 20 million people and can be easily integrated into the Olympics at a very low cost to the host cities. Portable glass courts make the sport an incredible viewing spectacle for viewers both on television and in person.
Natalie Grainger, Squash 2016 Bid Team member and World No 4 said, “We recognized in Juniper PR, an energetic and creative approach that will positively support our campaign. We will now proceed to get the attention of the IOC and the sporting world as a whole. Squash is an excellent spectator sport and has all the right ingredients for inclusion in the games. An Olympic medal would be the highest achievement in the sport, and the top players of both sexes have pledged their commitment to compete. “
Susan McMahon said, “This is an important and significant account win for us. The international game of squash is a very exciting sport for all and we look forward to working with the bid team to ensure the best chance of its inclusion in the 2016 Games.”
Source: Around the Rings
NICOL David faces a challenging start to the season after being handed a tough draw for the Kuala Lumpur Open on Mar 4-7.
This year's KL Open, to be held at the Berjaya Times Square from the quarter-finals onwards, has attracted the world's top nine women's players.
World No 1 Nicol will have to be on her guard from the start when she opens against the experienced Madeline Perry, the World No 9 from Ireland.
Although the Malaysian has won all 10 of their meetings on the Wispa Tour, 31-year-old Madeline could pose an early threat after reaching the World Open semi-finals last year before falling to eventual champion Nicol.
A win would pit Nicol against World No 5 Jenny Duncalf of England, who has also yet to win in nine previous meetings against the three-time world champion but can be expected to put up a fight.
Seeded to meet Nicol in the semi-finals is 2007 world champion Rachael Grinham of Australia, who did not have the best of starts to the season when she lost in the semi-finals of the Burning River Classic in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday, where the World No 3 was the top seed.
The final could see Nicol in another instalment of her rivalry with World No 2 Natalie Grainger of the Netherlands, who will be looking to prevent Nicol from winning her 13th consecutive Wispa title.
National No 2 Sharon Wee was handed a wildcard and plays Jenny in the first round, which will also see American World No 4 Natalie Grainger, who rarely travels to play in Asia, making only her second appearance in the KL Open and her first since 2006.
Defending champion Ong Beng Hee is seeded second in the men's draw and opens against a qualifier while third seed Azlan Iskandar faces Omar Mosaad of Egypt.
With Beng Hee and Azlan in opposite halves, a repeat of last year's final could be on the cards but Azlan would have to get past top seed Peter Barker in the semi-finals.
Beng Hee could run into trouble even earlier with Stewart Boswell of Australia, who opens against National No 3 Nafiizwan Adnan in the first round, lurking in the quarter-finals and Adrian Grant of England in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's Shelley Kitchen is the headline attraction at two low-key KL Open tune-up events in Bukit Jalil this month, having entered the NSC Tour 8 No 1 and NSC Tour 12 No 1 tournaments.
LONDON: While Nicol David extends her reign at the top of the new February Women’s World Squash Rankings, published on Thursday by the Women’s International Squash Players’ Association (WISPA), it is Isabelle Stoehr who grabs the headlines after becoming the first French player to claim a place in the top ten.
The 29-year-old from Montpelier enjoyed a highly successful year in 2008, beginning by winning a record-equalling 11th French National title, then going on to add two further WISPA World Tour titles — at the Des Pyramides Open and Sannois International — to bring her career tally to eight.
Nicol David heads an otherwise unchanged top ten, with Natalie Grinham (Netherlands) at two; her older sister Rachael Grinham (Australia) in third place; Natalie Grainger, of the USA, at number four; and England’s Jenny Duncalf at five.
Australian Kasey Brown also marks a career-best ranking in the list. The 23-year-old from New South Wales moves up a single place to No 12.
Furthermore, Mexican Samantha Teran celebrates a career-high ranking this month. The 27-year-old from Mexico City rises to 15 after collecting no fewer than five WISPA Tour titles in 2008.