Friday, October 2, 2015


Well, it’s official. Squash will not be a part of the 2020 Olympic program in Tokyo. Yes, it’s shocking. It’s heartbreaking. It’s tragic. It’s positively, undisputedly, unquestionably, categorically, irrefutably preposterous.  But, it is not a surprise. And we really should not have been expecting anything less than a screw-you-who-cares-about-squash rejection. So, with nothing more to lose, I’m ranting…

From the 8 listed sports that were vying for a spot on the agenda, the Tokyo Olympic Committee recommended 5 of them for inclusion to the 2020 Games. Squash was not one of them. We were snubbed for: Baseball / Softball – which is hardly unexpected considering the following baseball receives in Japan; Karate – which, again, shouldn’t dumbfound anyone; Skateboarding… are you freakin’ kidding me? Neither the International Skateboarding Federation nor World Skateboarding Federation are even recognized by the IOC. How on earth are they even considered? Sport Climbing… errr, I am at a loss for words; Surfing. Dude. Wow. I believe sports such as Skateboarding and Climbing actually demean the esteemed sanctity of the Olympics. They’re dumbing down.

It’s been a downhill slide for squash for years. It was actually voted in for the 2012 London Games, only to be voted off immediately thereafter when the IOC decided to take another, controversial ‘secret’ vote where many of the IOC officials had a sudden change of heart and probably a change in their bank account balance.

Squash made it to the final 3 sports for consideration for the 2016 Rio Games, but lost out to Golf and Rugby 7’s, and then the recent voting debacle for the 2020 agenda had squash (and every other sport) waste all their time and money as they witnessed the train wreck proceedings of the IOC voting off wrestling, and then merrily reinstating it 9 months later.

A new IOC president announced it would allow more sports in for the 2020 Games, but instead of allowing the sports that made it to the final 3 for the original 2020 voting to be automatically included, they forced all interested sports to go through the entire bidding process anew. This time, squash made it to the final 8, before not even getting into the final 5. Squash is getting pushed further down the totem pole.

Japan’s reasoning for their choices was simple. Their aim was to have a representation of sports that embodies “traditional and emerging, youth focused events”. What bollocks. Screw the rules. Clearly, the IOC have zero interest in an actual sport that truly meets all the criteria. Instead, it’s money, money, money. If squash wants to be in the Olympics, it needs to start to play by the real world rules and grease the right pockets.

Which really begs the question, “is it worth it?” Is all this time, money and effort really the thing the squash associations should be spending their efforts on? Of course squash has vowed to keep trying for 2024 (and in all reality, what choice do they have?), but why are we trying to get into an exclusive society that has continuously looked at squash like the annoying red-headed stepchild asking for a hand-out? If the Olympic Committees truly believe that “sports” such as Skateboarding and Sports Climbing are more worthy of Olympic status than squash, then we have no hope and are wasting our time.  Back to the grass roots, I say. Juniors, juniors, juniors. Courts, courts, courts. The world cannot have enough squash players or venues. In the meantime, the IOC can take their Olympic “values” and comprehensively, violently, consummately, copiously, and unabashedly, shove it in their Olympic sized rings.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Blitz Tournament – October 9

I usually wouldn’t be telling anyone that, but in this case, I couldn’t encourage it enough. This is one Blitzing entertaining tournament. This will the 15th Blitzing time we’ve run it, and all types of Blitzers have won from all Blitzing levels. Some of them have even won the Blitzing thing twice.

The beauty of this event is that it doesn’t take much Blitzing time to complete. Matches can take 2 Blitzing rallies only, or on the extreme end, maybe 10 minutes. Handicaps are assigned with every match, which is where most of the Blitzing complaints come from. Most of the time I stand my ground and tell the players to get Blitzed and live with it, but now and then both players will agree to modify it, and when that happens they’ll find out I was right in the first place, and I can proudly boast “I Blitzing told you so”.

Think you can handle all of this Blitz? Take note of the following:

  • Matches start at 5pm. Don’t Blitz it up and be late.
  • This is for ALL Blitzing players, men and women, at ALL playing levels. No Blitzing excuse.
  •  All matches are 1 game to 15 Blitzing points.
  • You will get a variety of Blitzing opponents and varying Blitzing levels. Handicaps will be assigned. I’ll do my Blitzing best to get every match to end 15-14…
  • There will be a Blitzing round robin event to start. The top two players of each group will advance to the Blitzing knock-out round where the top 3 Blitzers will be crowned.
  • If players are tied in the group round, they will draw Blitzing straws to see who advances.
  • Maximum 40 players, otherwise we’ll be here all Blitzing night. Minimum 16.
  • Drink the Blitzing keg. For Blitz sake.

·         It’s free to play if you’re a Blackballer.

Registration deadline is Wednesday October 7. E-mail me your Blitzing registration to . You won’t be Blitzing disappointed.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Nash Cup - September 18-20

The day didn’t start well. I was very disappointed when I looked up the results of the PSA draw on Friday morning of the $15,000 Nash Cup event. One of the reasons I was looking forward to going this year was because I had the chance to see the current world junior champion Diego Elias from Peru perform. By all reports, he is rather good. However, in a huge upset, he had lost his quarter final the day before in 5 games. It seemed I was stuck having to watch the others... who, as it turned out (unsurprisingly), are also well above average.

Maybe it’s that I am getting older and it takes longer for my synapses to send those messages to my brain, but the professional men’s game appears to be getting faster. And the depth of competition is increasing. The top 3 seeds did not get past the second round, and the final was between 2 players ranked outside the top 50, but played as if they should have been well inside it.

Declan James is from England, ranked 51, and a short 6 foot 4 but carries himself a lot taller than that. He has to bend his knees in order to hit an overhead volley. Abdullah Al Tamimi is from Qatar, looked half the size of James, and is ranked 78, and probably auditioned for the part of “Flash” in the Hollywood movie. ‘Quick’ doesn’t describe him. ‘Breakneck’?

It was so enjoyable to watch the final, James’ reach more than making up for Abdullah’s zippiness. It was also apparent that James was - on this particular day - the smarter player. At times, Abdullah’s shot choices were very questionable, none more dubious than the return-of-serve volley cross-court drop that clipped the tin - at game ball down. That error put him in a 2 games to zero hole, a hole that with the way James was hitting, looked monumental to climb out of. And it was. The 11-7 third game was really never in doubt, and I’m sure everybody was hoping for one or two more, but the crowd adored every second.

The women’s final was played the previous evening between the 2013 winner, Pakistani Maria Toorpakay (ranked 51) and Brit Millie Tomlinson (ranked 55). The best women’s final to date, the 2 lasses went at each other for 68 brutal minutes. Each game was won by a 3 point margin or less. Exciting all the way to the end, Millie, I feel, could have been more successful if she used the front 2 corners more regularly. Many times she was set-up to take the ball short but constantly chose to pound the ball to length instead. Maria was happy not to have to cover the front more, and ended up pinching the 5th game 11-9. Maria is now the first player (men or woman) to win the Nash Cup more than once.

The amateur draws were not as populated as previous years. The largest draw actually happened to be mine in the Open, and all my opponents were less than half my age (again!). But, score one for the veterans, I held off the youthful challenges to win the event. I played David Mill in the final. He did very well to get there, taking out his Windsor counterpart Stefan Houbtchev 3-1 in the semi. Even though I won 3-0, David is clearly improving and now that he resides in Toronto and is training at Jon Power’s center, that improvement will come on even quicker.

Me, Geoff Hunt and Josh Slominski.
Josh Slominski made the trip as well and played in the Men’s C. It was not a triumphant weekend for him, and he was understandably disgruntled with his results. Luck played a little part here as well (or un-luck), as Josh lost most of his games 11-9, or in the tie-break. With a little fortune, he could have easily have won a couple of matches. It’s important to see the silver lining and this event was a valuable learning experience. Josh will be tougher for it.

As is customary, the London Club social life was in full swing, the beer pong competition was another grueling battle, and we all bonded well into the wee hours of the morning. On a side note, it was a thrill for me meet up with an old coach of mine. Geoff Hunt is one of the greatest squash players of all time. He won 4 World Opens and 8 British Opens back in the 70’s and 80’s and he was my mentor way, way back in 1988-89. Geoff coaches Abdullah Al Tamimi and often travels from Australia to help him on the tour. The Qatari is in good hands. Josh and I naturally took the photo opportunity!

Final shout-out goes to the London Squash crew, the carpet you guys roll out gets redder every year. And, as I always repeat in every London article... I don’t understand why more members don’t play this tournament. It’s only for your benefit!

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