Whilst the South African Grainger family could walk away with three of the trophies, Australians are expected to take the lion’s share of the titles on offer in next month’s WSF World Masters Squash Championships, co-sponsored by Hill Dickinson Lawyers and Silverline Mobile, in Hong Kong, according to the seedings announced today by the World Squash Federation.
More than 750 players from all corners of the globe will compete in 18 events from 5-11 July – from Men’s and Women’s Over-35 through to Men’s Over-80 categories – with action split between the Hong Kong Squash Club and Hong Kong Football Club.
Jean Grainger, one of three South Africans seeded to win titles, is favourite to claim the Women’s Over-70 crown for the first time – to add to world titles she has won at O55, O60 and O65 since 1999.
Her husband Chris Grainger is the No3 seed in the Men’s Over-65 category – while their daughter Natalie Grainger, a former world No1 now based in the USA, who retired from the WSA World Tour over three years ago, is seeded to win her maiden World Masters title in the Women’s Over-35 championship.
Omar Elborolossy is the top seed in the Men’s Over-35 event in Hong Kong where the 38-year-old two-time British Open O35 champion is expected to be Egypt’s sole champion.
Former world No2 Brett Martin, one of three Martin siblings (with Michelle and Rodney) who dominated squash proceedings in the 90s, is making his World Masters debut as top seed in the Men’s Over-50 championship. The 51-year-old is one of the eight predicted champions from Australia – yet may also be joined on the winner’s podium by his wife Melissa Martin, No2 seed in the Women’s Over-35 event.
Distinguished Australian Sarah Fitz-Gerald is also expected to add to her title haul in Hong Kong as top seed in the Women’s Over-45 event. The five-time World Open champion from Melbourne is making her first appearance in the championships since lifting the Over-35 trophy in 2006.
Three players are anticipated to add a fifth World Masters trophy to their collections. South Africa’s Craig van der Wath is expected to retain hisMen’s Over-45 title after two previous successes at Over-35 and one at Over-40.
With a pair of Over-45 and Over-50 titles already to his credit, Australia’s Geoffrey Davenport is now fancied for success in the Men’s Over-55category.
But the player whose World Masters title success spans the greatest period is England’s Averil Murphy, who is seeded to win her maiden Women’s Over-65 crown. The 66-year-old from Essex claimed her first success at the Over-40 championship 25 years ago in 1989 – and went on to win the Over-55 trophy and two Over-60 titles!
Top World Masters seeds:
Men’s Over 35: 1 Omar Elborolossy (EGY), 2 Morten W Sorensen (SWE), 3 Paul David Johnson (WAL), 4 Mick Biggs (ENG)
Men’s Over 40: 1 Craig Rowland (AUS), 2 Craig Wapnick (RSA), 3 Glenn Hitch (AUS), 4 Stephen Cooke (NED)
Men’s Over 45: 1 Craig van der Wath (RSA), 2 Michael Tootill (RSA), 3 Jean-Jacques Pineau (FRA), 4 Andrew Cross (ENG)
Men’s Over 50: 1 Brett Martin (AUS), 2 Willie Hosey (IRL), 3 Trevor Wilkinson (RSA), 4 Peter Hill (SIN)
Men’s Over 55: 1 Geoffrey Davenport (AUS), 2 Zainal Abidin (SIN), 3 Udo Kahl (GER), 4 Jeremy Goulding (ENG)
Men’s Over 60: 1 John Macrury (CAY), 2 Peter Alexander (ENG), 3 Johnny Orsmond (RSA), 4 Stuart Hardy (ENG)
Men’s Over 65: 1 Brian Cook (AUS), 2 Chris Goodbourn (ENG), 3 Chris Grainger (RSA), 4 Frederik Bester (RSA)
Men’s Over 70: 1 Adrian Wright (ENG), 2 Gerry Poulton (CAN), 3 Desmond Sacco (RSA), 4 Ted Vale (AUS)
Men’s Over 75: 1 Brian Phillips (WAL), 2 Barry Gardiner (NZL), 3 Michael Gough (USA), 4 Vincent Taylor (CAN)
Men’s Over 80: 1 John Cox (ENG), 2 Trevor Coulter (NZL), 3 Eddie Delahunty (NZL), 4 Erkki Juslen (FIN)
Women’s Over 35: 1 Natalie Grainger (USA), 2 Melissa Martin (AUS), 3 Farrah Fenner (RSA), 4 Sam Herbert (RSA)
Women’s Over 40: 1 Amanda Hopps (AUS), 2 Karen Meakins (BAR), 3 Yoriko Michishita (JPN), 4 Becky Clarke (NZL)
Women’s Over 45: 1 Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS), 2 Sarah Nelson (AUS), 3 Amanda Kennedy (NZL), 4 Diana Parums (ENG)
Women’s Over 50: 1 Leora Greenwood (RSA), 2 Bea de Dreu-Spitse (NED), 3 Susan Williams (AUS), 4 Kathryn McKay (NZL)
Women’s Over 55: 1 Anne Richards (AUS), 2 Lisa O’Grady (RSA), 3 Mary Sceney (AUS), 4 Karen Hume (ENG)
Women’s Over 60: 1 Sue Volkze (AUS), 2 Pauline Douglas (SCO), 3 Freda Walker (NZL), 4 Gaye Mitchell (AUS)
Women’s Over 65: 1 Averil Murphy (ENG), 2 Bett Dryhurst (ENG), 3 Claire Bryars (FRA), 4 Marilyn Kennedy (AUS)
Women’s Over 70: 1 Jean Grainger (RSA), 2 Barbara Sanderson (IRL), 3 Sheena Worwood (RSA), 4 Joan Witton (ENG)