World Squash Day 2009 was launched in spectacular style today as rock star Phil Buscke of New Zealand band The Datsuns did a bungee jump off Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Under the watchful eye of AJ Hackett Bungy Auckland guitarist Buscke, an A grade squash player, jumped not once, but twice – proudly waving a banner with the message “Squash and the Olympics, a Perfect Match”.
Buscke said he has been asked to do many things by Squash New Zealand over the years, but nothing quite so dramatic as jumping off the bridge. “That was amazing, such a huge adrenaline rush – I’d do it again in a heartbeat”.
The spectacular stunt is the precursor to a worldwide flurry of activity as the global squash community unites in support of the Olympic bid.
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
Squash stars all over the world are also involved in a host of Squash 2016 Day activities tomorrow in a worldwide festival to promote the sport’s bid for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics.British stars Alison Waters and Stacey Ross are leading a host of events in London, with former national champion Waters playing Mark Cowley in a Battle of The Sexes exhibition match at Southgate, and world No.39 Ross hosting a day of fun activities at the Lakeside Club in Wimbledon.
Ross said: “Our squash membership is thriving, but we’d still like to encourage more people to play and to join us because it is a great sport.”
FINNS TAKE TO THE STREETS
Finnish ace Olli Tuominen, the current world No.21, is hosting a day of Mini-Squash in the streets in Helsinki. He said: “We encouraging youngsters to simply hit a ball against a wall to give them a taste of the game. When they see how much fun it is we hope they will then want to join a squash club.” Tuominen will be playing a match against national association secretary Lotta Vuorela against the wall of the Finnish Sports Federation. They have also produced aseven-minute video
Indian star Ritwik Bhattacharya is involved in a huge day of action and said: “We are holding one of our State League fixtures where 128 players from Maharashtra between the ages of eight and 65 will compete. We’re also holding a 30-a-side game on that day as well at two venues in Mumbai.”
NEPAL INVITE OLYMPIC GUEST
The Nepal Squash Rackets Association, are holding a one-day team event with undreds of players and guests from clubs, corporate houses, foreign missions, the police and the army.
Amar K.Simha, President OF THE Nepal Squash Rackets Association, said: “We plan to deliver an ‘Olympic Appeal’ before the tournament in an inaugural ceremony to the chief guest, who will be the Vice-President of the Nepal Olympic Committee.”
RIO IN THE RUNNING
In Brazil, ten regional associations are running events this week, with a special focus on Rio de Janeiro, one of the four cities bidding to stage the 2016 Games. Advertising space has been bought in the Rio media to promote the activities, with a group of enthusiasts jogging round the city to pose for pictures at iconic locations including Copacabana Beach and the Statue of Christ The Redeemer.
FREE SQUASH IN VIENNA
Two live radio broadcasts are being planned in Vienna, where every squash club in the city is throwing open its doors to offer free lessons in a day porganised by McWil Courts and the Vienna Squash Association.They have also set up a brilliant website: www.squashday.at
KEEN IN KENYA
Kenya Squash has organised their national under-19 tournament at Parklands Sports Club. Canadian Coach Rene Denis, assisted by Kenya-based Zambian Pro Prince Mukuka and some top players, will be staging exhibition matches and offering free coaching tips to kids and adults who walk in. At the Rift Valley Sports Club, Kenya-based Zambian Pro Mordecai Kabamba will be giving free coaching for youngsters.
SQUASHING ALL OVER POLAND
The Polish Squash Federation are holding events in Warsaw, Krakow and Poznan (with information at www.pfs.com.pl).
PHILIPPINES BACK THE BID
The Squash Rackets Association of the Philippines’ (SRAP) will be holding the third leg of their National Championships tomorrow to coincide with Squash 2016 Day! A spokesman said: “This time, we will make it to the olympics.”
Squash For 2016 Day is tuning up for a high-volume launch on May 23rd with a leading rock star staging a spectacular stunt to support the game’s bid for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics.
Phil Buscke, a guitarist with New Zealand hard rock band The Datsuns, will be dressed in his Squash For 2016 T-shirt as he does a bungee jump from Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Buscke, who used to play A grade squash in New Zealand and was a member of the Kiwis’ high performance squad before The Datsuns gained international fame, says he is determined to help raise the profile of the game in its crucial build-up to the Olympic voting process.
Phil said: “I’ve been asked to do a lot of things by Squash New Zealand in the past, but I never thought they’d ask me to jump off a bridge.”
On the Olympic bid, he added: “All I can say is, if I’m throwing myself off a bridge, squash had better bloody well get in!”
On splitting his time between recording and touring with The Datsuns and playing squash, he said: “I don’t get much time to play when I’m overseas, but I’m planning to spend a bit more time at home in future and would like to do a bit of coaching.”
Squash 2016 Day on May 23 is a fun-filled worldwide festival of activities to promote the Olympic bid and attract new participants to the sport.
Major events are taking place all over the globe with special focus on the four cities bidding to host the 2016 Games, namely Chicago, Madrid, Rio and Tokyo.
In the USA, squash legends Jonathon Power and John White will be appearing in the 100-a-side Battle Of The Border match at the Apawamis Club in Connecticut. Also there will be women’s world No.2 Natalie Grainger, fresh from her appearance in the final of the Cayman Islands Open.
Squash will also be getting the Hollywood treatment in Los Angeles, where the local squash community are planning a massive day of activities.
Squash fans will be taking to the streets in a number of cities, including London, to wave Squash For 2016 Day banners in front of iconic buildings such as the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.
With similar activities taking place at key locations all over the world, Squash For 2016 Day organiser Alan Thatcher says: “We hope to build up a massive bank of images which will clearly illustrate squash’s global appeal, which is one of the key messages of the sport’s bid for Olympic inclusion.”