Five potential Commonwealth Games medallists – three of them English – will contest this year’s Brit Insurance Super Series Squash Finals at London’s Broadgate Arena from 8th – 12th May. Peter Nicol, Lee Beachill, James Willstrop, Anthony Ricketts and David Palmer have all been selected to represent their respective countries at next month’s games in Melbourne and all are expected to compete strongly for medal positions. The Brit Insurance Super Series Finals will be the first major PSA tournament to take place in the UK following next month’s Games.
England’s Peter Nicol, who qualifies in seventh place for the prestigious eight-man event in the City of London, claimed gold in the men’s doubles and silver in the singles in Manchester two years ago. The former world no.1 also claimed two medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games when competing for his native Scotland. Nicol will be joined in the Brit Insurance Super Series Finals line-up by England team-mates Lee Beachill, his gold medal winning doubles partner in Manchester, and 22-year-old James Willstrop who makes his Commonwealth Games debut in Melbourne next month.
The trio led England to victory at the World Team Championships in Islamabad last December and there are high hopes that all three will return to London in May as 2006 Commonwealth Games medallists.
Australia’s world no.4 Anthony Ricketts, beaten finalist at last week’s Canary Wharf Classic, and world no.1 David Palmer have both been selected to represent Australia’s self-proclaimed ‘strongest team ever’ in Melbourne. Ricketts, the reigning British Open Champion, claimed men’s doubles silver behind Nicol and Beachill in Manchester and will be hoping to go one better in front of a partisan home crowd when the 2006 Games get underway in just 23 days time. Likewise Palmer, who picked up bronze medals in the singles and doubles in Manchester, will be hoping for further podium finishes in Melbourne and the two-time British Open Champion is likely to prove a major threat on home soil.
Jonathon Power, the reigning Commonwealth Games singles gold medallist, enjoyed a memorable season in 2005 and whilst the world no.2 will return to Broadgate to defend his Super Series Finals title in May, he will not travel to Melbourne to defend his Commonwealth Games crown next month. The 31-year-old announced his withdrawal from the Canadian squad in January, citing a scheduling clash.
Power won five tournaments in 2005 and clawed his way back to the world number-one spot for the first time in four years. His return to the top marked the longest ever gap between successive world number-one rankings since the system was established in the early eighties. He also became the oldest player to reach the no.1 spot.
Completing the 8-strong Brit Insurance Super Series Finals line-up will be Egypt’s two-time World champion, Amr Shabana, currently ranked no.3 in the world, and France’s Thierry Lincou, winner of last week’s Canary Wharf Classic and runner-up to Jonathon Power at Broadgate last year.
The Brit Insurance Super Series Finals brings together the top eight qualifiers from the PSA Super Series Tour to compete in an annual grand final. The qualifying events for the 2006 event included The 2005 Tournament of Champions, the 2005 Bermuda PSA Masters, The 2005 Pakistan Open, The 2005 Qatar Classic, The 2005 World Open and The 2005 Saudi International.
The 2006 Brit Insurance Super Series Finals, presented by British Land, owners of the Broadgate Arena, will take place in a specially constructed all-glass court in the heart of the city of London.
The eight qualifiers will be drawn in two groups of four for the round robin stage from Monday 8th – Wednesday 10th May, with the top two from each group progressing to Thursday’s semi-finals. The final and 3rd place play-off will take place on Friday 12th May.
The final 2005 Super Series Tour point standings were as follows:
Tickets are now on sale via the Ticketmaster website ticketmaster.co.uk or by calling the dedicated ticket hotline on tel. 0870 145 1209.
For more information, visit the official tournament website: Super Series Finals