4 September 2022

Squash rebounds from COVID with US$20,000 Jansher Khan Canberra Open at Woden

| Tim Gavel
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Squash ACT head coach Tayla Mounter putting players through drills. Photo supplied.

Squash ACT head coach Tayla Mounter puts players through their drills. Photo supplied.

COVID hit squash in Canberra particularly hard for two solid years. But plenty has been happening behind the scenes to reinvigorate the sport and get players back on the courts.

English coach Tayla Mounter was recruited earlier this year as Squash ACT’s head coach to help build participation.

Now, Squash ACT is planning a significant tournament to put the spotlight back on the sport.

From 18 to 22 October, Squash ACT will host the Jansher Khan Canberra Open at the Woden Squash Courts.

The Woden Squash Courts.

The Woden Squash Courts, venue for the Jansher Khan Canberra Open. Photo supplied.

The tournament, a 24-player men’s event, boasts US$20,000 prizemoney and will feature a number of players in the world’s top 100. It will be staged alongside the 2022 ACT Canberra Open.

Squash ACT president Michael Nuttall says the timing of the tournament has been crucial.

“We have players from all around the world ready to come to Canberra and compete before heading to the Australian Open a week later,” he says. “Our timing could not have been better.”

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Michael says the importance of the event in reinvigorating the sport can’t be underestimated.

“The last couple of years have been especially challenging for indoor sports.

“The Jansher Khan Open is just what is needed to inspire our current crop of juniors and bring new players into this great sport.”

The event honours the great Jansher Khan, winner of the World Open eight times, the British Open six times, and the number one player in the world continuously for close to a decade.

Squash in action.The popularity of squash in Canberra is expected to grow with the staging of major tournaments. Photo supplied.

The tournament is sanctioned by the Professional Squash Association and has been financially supported by individuals and businesses within the Australian/Pakistan community.

Support has also come from the Pakistan High Commissioner, His Excellency Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, who has been pivotal in gaining the backing of Jansher Khan. He has also helped to gain support within the Pakistan community to ensure the event becomes a reality.

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In addition to her coaching role at Squash ACT, Tayla will also co-ordinate the Jansher Khan Open.

“I’m looking forward to running this event in Canberra,” she says. “Anyone who gets the chance to come along will see that a PSA squash match is simply brilliant.

“And while we’ll see incredible players in this event, at the same time we’ll have the Canberra Open tournament where players of all ages and abilities will play and compete at their level.”

The event will end a 10-year drought of Canberra hosting a major squash tournament.

Optimism is growing for the Jansher Khan Canberra Open to be an ongoing event with plans to include a women’s competition on the program.

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