Cape Town To Host World's Biggest International Squash Event
13 Oct 2006
The biggest ever international event in squash will take place in South Africa next week when Cape Town hosts the 8th World Masters Championships, from 16-21 October.
The championships, spread over five venues, boast a record entry of 672 players from 33 countries, competing in a total of 16 events - from Over 35 for men and women to Over 65 for women and, for the first time, Over 75 for men!
The tournament's oldest competitor is Eric Grubb, an 85-year-old South African who also plays croquet and tennis. A long-time member and previous chair of the Kelvin Grove Club in Cape Town, Grubb is one of eight competitors playing in the Men's Over 75 event - whose top seed is local player Peter Fahrenheim, a former Over 65 and Over 70 World Masters champion.
Japanese husband and wife team Yulio and Yoshiko Kasahara have competed in every World Masters championship since 1983. While 80-year-old Yulio will be seeking success this year in the Men's Over 75 event, his wife Yoshiko - who is also 80 - will be conceding at least ten more years to her opponents in the Women's Over 65 championship!
Dawn Kaiser will also be trying her luck in the Women's Over 65 event, while keeping a close eye on her three children - son Bruce Kaiser in the Men's Over 40 and daughters Wendy Harvey and Kim Commins in the Women's Over 40 events. The biggest single family competing in Cape Town, all have represented their province in annual inter-provincial tournaments. (Father Woody played squash, hockey and tennis before his knees and hips ruled out such energetic pursuits!
At the other end of the age range, Australia's record five-times world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald is favourite to win the Women's Over 35 title - to add to the World Masters Games crown she won in Canada last year and the British Open Over 35 trophy she claimed for the second successive year last month.
England's Mark Allen is top seed in the Men's Over 35 event, while Craig van der Wath - the South African who won the title in the previous championships in Finland in 2003 - is now favourite to win the Men's Over 40 trophy. The reigning women's Over 35 champion Angelique Clifton-Parks, who is also from South Africa, has also moved up to the next age category, where she is also top seed.
The complete range of events includes: Women's Over 35, Over 40, Over 45, Over 50, Over 55, Over 60 and Over 65 - and Men's Over 35, Over 40, Over 45, Over 50, Over 55, Over 60, Over 65, Over 70 and Over 75.
For the latest information, visit the official website: www.wmsqc.com