TO ALL FELLOW SQUASH PLAYERS
A REPORT ON BEHALF OF SQUASH SOUTH AFRICA AND THE EXECUTIVE MEMBERS
I hope you are all doing as well as can be expected during this ongoing Covid19 pandemic. I am sure that everyone was shattered when the President of South Africa announced a complete lockdown and then extended it. As squash players around the country, we never fully realised what the impact would be, that all squash activities would come to a screeching halt. Whilst first and foremost, the priority is health and safety, we were at a loss for words as all sportsmen and sportswomen across the world were affected in their chosen sport whether at the social, league or at the international level. Never mind the economic devastation which has presented an equally challenging situation for some more than others.
For any person or someone close to you with Covid-19 symptoms, our thoughts and prayers are with you, stay strong and we wish you a speedy recovery. Please remember to follow Government advice to maintain an appropriate social distance, wear a mask when out of your homes and to continue the washing hands regimen.
South Africa needs to achieve Level 2 status before any recreational facility is open for the enjoyment of squash or sport again. The Masters IPT Singles has been cancelled while the World Masters Championships and the World Junior Men’s Junior Championships have all been postponed. At our last Exco meeting we took the unfortunate but logical decision to postpone Growthpoint SA Nationals, IPT and SA Open. We have pencilled in August/September/October/November this year for these wonderful events to take place but this all depends on which Level we have reached. The roads have now been opened for us all to enjoy exercising, so small steps are beginning to happen.
Squash South Africa would like to thank all who have registered already and paid their affiliation fees and even during this trying time please continue to do so. Without you there is no Squash South Africa.
2020 South Africa Squash 57 National Championships.
Garrick Deutschmann and Christo Potgieter successfully organised the 2020 Championships at Johannesburg Country Club at the end of January.
Potgieter ran out the winner in the Men’s section accounting for Devon Hendrickse while Cheyna Wood defeated Madjone Engelbrecht to win the women’s title.
Adrian Hansen took the Masters title with Sharon Le Roux victorious in the Women’s Masters section.
The Masters 60+ event was won by Emile Mauvis.
Prince PSA Closed Satellite: Christo Potgieter accounted for Kelvin Ndhlovu (3/1) 11-6 8-11 11-6 11-6 to win the Men’s title while Alexa Pienaar beat Jenny Preece in straight games to notch up another PSA title.
Northerns PSA Closed Satellite: A strong entry was received for the Northerns PSA Satellite which was won by Kelvin Ndhlovu after a tough tussle with Kundanji Kalengo with Ndhlovu winning 3/2 11-5 9-11 8-11 11-2 11-8.
Lizelle Muller beat Alexa Pienaar 3/1 11-8 4-11 11-6 11-9 to take the women’s title.
The Assore S A National Masters Championships were played at the Parkview Centre at the beginning of March.
35 – 39 : 1 Mike Veliades , 2 Toann Claassen.
40 – 44: 1 Craig Ruane, 2 Giovanni Raffe
45 – 49: 1 Gary Plumstead, 2 Adrian Hansen
50 – 54: 1 Mike Hambly, 2 Chris Moody
55 – 59: 1 Trevor Wilkinson, 2 Frank Bradford
60 – 64: 1 Kevin James, 2 Jack Shtein
65 – 69: 1 Rodney Wood, 2 Keith Willows
70 – 74: 1 Chris Grainger, 2 Arthur Dyason
75+: 1 Des Sacco
35 – 39: Nono Sekhoto
40 – 44: Jacqui Ryder
45 – 49: Janet Byrnes
50 – 54: Linda Shannon
55 – 59: Tracy Schoeman
60 – 64: Helena Kruger
65+: Barbara Hendricks
Bloemfontein Open Junior Championships
The 1st week in March saw over 400 juniors converge on Bloemfontein for the annual Bloemfontein Open Junior Championships.
Winners : Boys :
Under 11: Dean Katzin bt Josh Edwards 3-0
Under 13: Juan-Corne Brand bt Goerge Marais 3-0
Under 14 : Patrick Weir bt Judah Phillips 3-0
Under 16 : Luke Jacoby bt Brett McLachlan 3-2
Under 19 : Tristan Worth bt Jacques Duminy 3-0
Under 11: 1 Makayla Naidoo bt 2 Vivienne van der Schyff
Under 13: 1 Bianca Reece-Gibbs bt 2 Chante Leppan
Under 14: 1 Jade Hardman bt 2 Cevana Naidoo
Under 16: Savannah Ingledew bt Awande Malinga 3-2
Under 19: Taryn Emslie bt Valme Webster 3-0
Ranked 37 in the world Western Province’s Alexandra Fuller, now based in Ireland, had a successful start to 2020.
The last weekend in February saw her lose in a close 5 game tussle to Mariam Metwally of Egypt, ranked 32, in the Windy City Open.
10 days later in the second round of the CIB Black Ball Women’s Squash Open in Cairo, Alex took a game off the world number 1, Egyptian Raneem El Welily.
Then followed the Edinburgh Sports Club Open where Alex led 2 games to love and held match point against Donna Lobban, ranked 22 in the semi-final. Lobban scraped through 8-11 6-11 11-5 12-10 12-10.
In the US National Doubles Championships played in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Elani and Lume Landman became the first South African pair to win the title.
JP Brits is now ranked 137 in the world but with the lockdown has not been able to compete in any events.
At home Squash South Africa received R487,000 from the Department of Sport Arts and Culture – R173,000 was allocated to Administration with R312,000 to projects for the Youth and for Women.
Thanks to the various co-ordinators 12/13 Youth projects: 1 project for Deaf Youth and 5 of 10 of the women’s projects were completed before the lockdown. We have asked for an extension for when the lockdown is lifted.
The poverty and the hunger of the unemployed have been exacerbated by the lockdown. As some of the juniors, who were part of the development projects, came from the seriously affected townships, Squash South Africa has been in contact with the co-ordinators and will be donating some funding for sorely needed food parcels from our own funds.
Finances will be covered in a separate report from our Treasurer and in our audited financial statements. Thankfully we are currently solvent and able to continue operating. However, like many other sports, this is dependent on how long the lockdowns and social distancing requirements continue.
We thank our staff Liz, Jacqui and Lauren for all their efforts in working towards ensuring squash stays alive. I also thank the Executive for their ongoing support and planning in the best interests of squash in South Africa.
We thank Gary Grant and colleagues of Accelerate who facilitated a pathway forward for Squash South Africa and Growthpoint. Since 2017 we have developed a successful relationship, which we treasure and wish to nurture. We thank Growthpoint for their ongoing support and sincerely hope that we can still stage the Growthpoint S A Nationals, Growthpoint Interprovincial and a highly successful Growthpoint SA Open at the V and A Waterfront.
We also thank Gary, Daniel Quinta and all members of Accelerate, who even during the lockdown
are looking for new avenues of sponsorship for us. A new contract was signed with Tsogo Sun before the lockdown – thanks to Karen Kruger and Jerry Mokgalape, who are also facing serious challenges with no sport taking place and hotels being closed unless used for quarantining.
As you would have read in the media or seen on TV, SASCOC is in a very difficult, unenviable situation. We shall keep you up to date with developments. SASCOC’s main focus is the multi-coded games e.g. Olympics, Paralympics, World Games and Commonwealth Games. Although we are not an Olympic sport, we are eligible for the World Games and Commonwealth Games. SASCOC does not fund federations or clubs – their responsibility is preparing and funding Team South Africa although Squash SA would receive funding for players, coaches and managers who are part of the World or Commonwealth Games teams.
The date for the Squash South Africa Annual General Meeting will be discussed and decided upon by the Executive, and all the necessary documents will be disseminated within the correct timelines.
To each and every one of you and your families, stay safe and healthy. This will pass and there will be many changes thereafter.