Squash: Tauranga to host world junior squash championship in July 2017

By David Leggat

Squash court. Photo / Getty Images
Squash court. Photo / Getty Images

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 world's best under-19 players and will also incorporate the women's world junior teams championship.

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

Organising committee chairman Wayne Werder was delighted with the success of Tauranga's bid, 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 championship will 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 Mt Maunganui clubs, plus a glass court location to be confirmed.

A glass court was used in Mt 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 [the 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 the men's world championship in 1971.

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.

- NZ Herald

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