The Allam British Open welcomed a group of MPs to the O2 Arena today as the All-Party Parliamentarian Leisure Group dropped by to watch the world’s best players as guests of England Squash & Racketball.
Chief Executive Nick Rider was delighted to announce enormous success in both elite performance and grass-roots development projects. With England’s James Willstrop riding high on top of the PSA men’s rankings and Nick Matthew winning the past two World Open finals, whilst Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro sit at two and four in the WSA rankings, English squash is enjoying unparalleled success on the world stage.
The visitors also learned of England Squash & Racketball’s commitment to community projects, with tens of thousands of children joining school squash activities all over the country and experiencing sport at the highest level with more than 2000 children visiting the British Open this week.
Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, a keen squash player, said: “We sit here in an Olympic venue, with England developing world class players and yet it is frustrating that they are denied the opportunity of a medal. What is great to see is how squash is making the sport accessible to all age groups and communities. How many other sports can children rub shoulders with a world number one?
Nick Rider said: “It was fantastic that our guests joined us here at the Allam British Open here at theO2. It has been a great chance to show constituency MPs how successful squash is from a grass-roots level right up to the elite level. Squash clubs and public facilities are a major part of their local communities and squash is an ideal sport to energise and educate young people.”
Mr. Rider added: “The MPs were very supportive of squash’s Olympic bid and it was very encouraging to hear that they are happy to lobby on the sport’s behalf.”
Back Row: Nick Rider (CEO, England Squash & Racketball), Andrew Shelley (WSF), Lord Stevenson, Richard Graham MP, James Willstrop (world number one) Lord Hodgson, Clive Betts MP (Vice Chair, APPLG), Simon Johnson (CEO, British Institute of Sport and Leisure), Jim Lord (ESR Operations Director)