Team Championship Underway In New Zealand
17th Women's World Team Squash Championship is officially underway
after today's opening ceremony at the International Pacific College
(IPC) in Palmerston North, New Zealand
Players and officials from the 16 competing countries have been treated
to a unique cultural experience, in a city now being dubbed the Squash
Capital of New Zealand.
Blazing pois, a traditional Maori kapa haka group and a melodious
performance of the New Zealand national anthem by the Manawatunes
highlighted the ceremony, although the best was saved for last with the
IPC drummers providing a dramatic climax to the proceedings.
France's Isabelle Stoehr had earlier provided her own impromptu
entertainment, breaking into the cancan as the French team were
accompanied onto the court by the famous chorus line tune, while the
South African team were all smiles as they marched in to the beat of
However, the loudest applause was saved for the New Zealand quartet of
Jaclyn Hawkes, Joelle King, Shelley Kitchen and
Tamsyn Leevey, who strolled onto the court to the iconic kiwi song
Slice of Heaven.
ceremony over, the players now turn their attention to the court, with
the first round of pool play underway tomorrow.
Despite the last-minute withdrawal of squad number two Alison Waters
through injury, England retain their top seeding.
Championship Technical Director Manan Mashruwala announced that
there will be no resultant change to the seedings, as per the World
Squash Federation rules. He says England remains one of the top four
teams at the event, and under WSF regulations, if the team affected does
not drop outside the top four, the status quo remains.
qualifying round - Pool A:
 ENGLAND v  USA
 NETHERLANDS v  AUSTRIA
 AUSTRALIA v  JAPAN
 IRELAND v  INDIA
 EGYPT v  SOUTH AFRICA
 FRANCE v  MEXICO
 MALAYSIA v  HONG KONG
 NEW ZEALAND v  CANADA
World Team Championship Blow
England have suffered a major blow on the eve of next week's Women's
World Team Squash Championship in New Zealand.
three Alison Waters has been forced to withdraw from the team due to
injury. The squad number two from London is still struggling with an Achilles
injury sustained during the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
the world No24, has come into the England team as a replacement - and has
already joined her team-mates Jenny Duncalf, Laura Massaro and
Tania Bailey in the North Island city of Palmerston North.
Whilst this is
unlikely to have any impact on the tournament seedings (the World Championship
Rules stipulate that they would need to move out of the top four for a change to
be made), a decision from the World Squash Federation seeding panel is
Fiona Geaves is philosophical about the loss of Waters. She says it is
obviously a major blow to lose their second string player, but these things
happen in squash.
got a strong squad so we're still coming into the tournament believing we can
win the event," explained the former world number five.
Waters is understandably disappointed.
to her - she's been texting the girls wishing them good luck of course. It's
always a bitter thing not being part of a World Team Championship when
you know your team has a very good chance of winning the event."
in New Zealand a day after her teammates, with team management taking the
precaution of flying her to Palmerston North just in case Waters was ruled out.
Geaves says that has turned out to be a good decision.
for us is obviously a very long way (to travel) - if it was in Holland we know
that we could call whoever we want and get them over, but with this trip we
thought, just to cover ourselves, let's get an extra player just in case."
excited about representing her country, albeit at the expense of an injured
teammate. The 27-year-old only found out late last week that she may be needed
in New Zealand, but has arrived ready and raring to go. She says she is playing
well at the moment and her fitness is good so hopefully that will show on court.
is a big blow to the team to lose Alison - she is one of the world's best
players. But hopefully I can just do my best and bring a little bit of extra
strength to the team."
week's Women's World Team Championship, featuring 16 nations, will
be staged for the 17th time since 1979 at SquashGym in Palmerston North,
from 29 November to 4 December.
champions England finished as runners-up in 2008 in Cairo, where Egypt
celebrated a popular maiden triumph on home soil.