Squash: Major world event heading to Tauranga

Dame Susan Devoy (left) and Ross Norman (right) celebrate Tauranga's hosting of the 2017 world junior titles with Wayne Werder. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services

New Zealand is back on the international squash stage with confirmation today that Tauranga will host the world junior championship in July next year.

The event will feature 250 of the orld's best under 19 players and also incorporating the women's world junior teams championship.

It will be the biggest international sporting championships to be held in Tauranga, with the portable glass court and live-streaming to be used to showcase the city.

Organising committee chairman Wayne Werder was delighted with the success of Tauranga's bid, which was the culmination of nearly 12 months' work.

''This is a big moment for both the sport in New Zealand and Tauranga as a sporting destination," Werder said. ''Our aim is to inspire a whole new generation of top squash talent in New Zealand."

The championships wil be based at the six-court Devoy Squash and Fitness Centre in Tauranga – named for the country's greatest player, Susan Devoy — while also using the Te Puke and Mount Maunganui clubs, plus a glass court location to be confirmed.

A glass court was used in Mount Maunganui's Bayfair shopping mall during the Mount Festival of Squash from 2008-09.

''Squash is thriving here in Tauranga with great facilities, passionate volunteers, and a number of experienced past international players who know what is required to host an event of this scale," Devoy, now race relations commissioner, said.

Squash New Zealand chief executive Jim O'Grady said his association was looking for an event that would help give the country, and the sport, a profile.

''From every respect, all the key things fell into place," O'Grady said.

''We've probably demonstrated that, with the world women's event in Palmerston North in 2010 and the world masters in Christchurch in 2008, we've got a reputation as good as anybody else — solid, reliable, get the job done.

''That dependability is one of the key aspects when (World Squash Federation) look at where events should go."

The top squash nations will be competing because New Zealand is seen as a safe venue. World Squash had had problems with some venues on security grounds.

New Zealand has hosted international squash events since 1971 with the men's world championship.

There will be individual championships for boys and girls and team events for the girls.
This year's world juniors will be held in August in Poland, with 26 nations represented in the team competition alone.

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