10:28 am
16 Apr 2024

Madrid 16 Welcomes World's Top Women To The Spanish Capital

22 Oct 2007

At a special Opening Ceremony tonight in Madrid, hosted by Madrid 16 in honour of the staging of the 2007 Women's World Open in the Spanish capital, CEO Mercedes Coghen welcomed the world's top players to the city and thanked the World Squash Federation (WSF) and the Women's International Squash Players' Association (WISPA) for choosing Madrid to host the sport's biggest event.

"We wish all the best to squash in its bid to become part of the Olympic programme - and we urge you to think of Madrid as the capital city for sport," Ms Coghen told the distinguished audience.

Angus Kirkland, the WSF Technical Director addressed the gathering on behalf of the Federation's celebrated President Jahangir Khan, the former six times World Champion.

"This event is the most important competition in Women's Squash. Only the best 32 from some 21 nations have qualified - and I am convinced they will delight you all with their skill, athleticism, determination and friendliness," said Kirkland for the WSF President.

"I would like to thank the city of Madrid for hosting this World Championship. You have shown us your generosity and vision, your passion for sport and your organisational capabilities by embracing the event with open arms. Your efforts will leave us all with unforgettable moments and pictures that we will treasure forever. In particular, my sincerest gratitude to the Mayor of the City of Madrid, Mr. Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, to Mr. Miguel de la Villa at the Sports Department, and to the Community of Madrid's Councillor of Sport Mr Alberto Lopez-Viego.

"I am also very grateful to Madrid 16. We would not be here today without the leadership and drive of Mercedes Coghen and her team. You have done so much for this event to become the success it will be. Thank you Mercedes. Thank you Ramona. Thank you Carmen. Thank you Madrid 16.

"In a final round of thanks, I would like to acknowledge the Real Federacion Espanola de Squash for accepting and participating in the organisation of this event. I know this marks a historic moment in Spanish Squash and I trust our Federation will seize on the development opportunity that has been presented to them.

"I would like to wish Madrid best of luck in its initiative to bring the Olympic Games to the city in 2016. Squash is trying to achieve inclusion in the sports programme and the next opportunity is also in 2016. I sincerely hope that our collective dreams and efforts come to fruition in Copenhagen in 2009."

Malaysia's title-holder Nicol David addressed the gathering on behalf of the players: "When we first heard that this year's World Open was going to be in Madrid, we were all so pleased to be coming to this great city. It's going to be a spectacular setting for the final stages, on the all-glass court by the Royal Palace.

"Hopefully squash and Madrid 16 will both fulfil our dreams for 2016 - and that I will still be playing in order to compete in the sport's first appearance in the Olympic Games!"

Rogelio Chantada, President of the Spanish Squash Federation, added his thanks to the assembled crowd: "We thank the WSF and WISPA - but particularly Madrid 16, without whose help the city would not have been able to stage this event."

In accepting the WSF flag from Angus Kirkland, Madrid City Council's General Director of Sport Miguel de la Villa said: "It is a pleasure to have the world championships for squash in our city - the best of luck to you all, and we hope to see you again in 2016 - here in Madrid!"