With a successful junior world squash championship under its belt, Tauranga has secured another global event, being named as the host of the 2021 Men's World Teams Squash Championships.
The announcement comes just two years after running the much-lauded World Junior Squash Championships in 2017, attracting competitors from 28 nations.
The last time the event was run in New Zealand was in 1983, in Auckland, and 2021 event organising committee chairman, Tauranga's Wayne Werder, says it is a massive opportunity.
"Tauranga has become a hub for squash and we have some former top players and administrators in the region. What was considered as one of the best junior world championships in 2017, gave us the confidence that we could out our hand up for another event," Werder says.
Werder has a strong link to the event, having played in the New Zealand team in the same event three times in the mid-1990s where he teamed up with New Zealand squash legends Ross Norman, Glen Wilson and Paul Steel.
The tournament alternates each year between the men's and women's championships.
The men play in Washington DC this year and the women's tournament will be in Malaysia next year.
The bid was a joint effort from the Devoy, Te Puke and Mount Maunganui squash clubs and about 30 teams are expected to take part, with each participating nation sending teams of four, including one reserve.
The event will be held in December which means the heat is a potential factor, particularly on the court where the ball will bounce more when it is hot.
Werder says changes to the scoring format, since he played a that level, has been a big change.
From club to international level, point-a-rally scoring is in effect, which means players do not have to serve to earn a point. Werder says that, and the tin on the front wall being two inches lower at the elite level, makes for a more attacking game.
Squash New Zealand chief executive Jamie Tong says securing the world champs is a fantastic opportunity to increase the profile of the sport.
"A tournament like this brings the world's best players and it is an opportunity to run a fantastic event and use this for the good of the sport. It is also an opportunity for the clubs to get behind it as these kinds of events tend to have a lasting effect on the area," Tong says.
Top New Zealand player, and world No 7, Paul Coll was rapt with the decision.
"I am thrilled that Tauranga has been chosen to host the 2021 World Men's Teams Championships. An entire generation of New Zealanders have not had the opportunity to view this level of squash at its best. Tauranga is an amazing place to visit and is one of the best coastal destinations in the world," Coll says.
In a release from the World Squash Federation, chief executive Andrew Shelley says teams will be excited about the announcement.
"Our World Team Championships are flagship events attracting a great array of national teams, and as soon as they read this announcement the men will be looking forward to a great Kiwi experience in 2021.
"Over the years, New Zealand has proved itself as a great host nation and the combination of great facilities, top notch management and hospitality will add to it in two years' time."
Major points of Tauranga's bid to host the 2021 Men's World Teams Squash Championships:
The event has not been hosted in New Zealand since 1983.
New Zealand is one of only three countries to have participated in every event since the tournament's inception.
The emergence of Paul Coll as a top 10 player has sparked a new level of interest in men's squash in New Zealand.
The event has the full support of the local clubs (Devoy Squash and Fitness, Te Puke, Mount Maunganui) and the region (Squash Bay of Plenty).
A proven track record of delivering world squash events as was demonstrated at the recent World.
Junior Squash Championships and previous NZ Women's Squash open.
The enthusiastic support of Tauranga City Council.
Tauranga is a compelling destination for international visitors to experience New Zealand at its best.
A commitment to using the event as a catalyst to develop the sport in the region – leaving a legacy for squash for many years to come.